[Vision2020] White House now runs cybersecurity

Kenneth Marcy kmmos1 at frontier.com
Thu May 11 17:20:46 PDT 2017

White House now runs cyber security

Promises to hold agency heads responsible for slipups


11 May 2017 at 22:05, Iain Thomson 

President Trump has signed his long-promised Executive Order on 
cybersecurity and it says the Executive Branch will now be taking 
overall command of securing the nation's critical IT systems.

During his campaign, Trump promised a missive on cybersecurity within 
90 days of taking office, but delayed the signing 
in late January. Now, 111 days after swearing to protect and uphold the 
constitution of the United States, the order has been signed, and it 
signals that Trump intends his staff to take command.

"The President will hold heads of executive departments and agencies 
(agency heads) accountable for managing cybersecurity risk to their 
enterprises," the order 

"In addition, because risk management decisions made by agency heads can 
affect the risk to the executive branch as a whole, and to national 
security, it is also the policy of the United States to manage 
cybersecurity risk as an executive branch enterprise."

All federal agencies (of which there are hundreds) will have to enforce 
the National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document 
[PDF] and will report on their progress in the next 90 days.

The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget will then assess the reports and present the 
information to the President 60 days later. They will also produce a 
plan to protect the executive branch if there are holes in its security.

In addition, the Director of the American Technology Council will ask 
each agency for a feasibility plan for combining IT infrastructure for 
departments within 90 days. Agency heads will also, henceforth, give 
preference in IT spending to shared systems architecture.

The Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence 
aren't spared the report writing either. They will have 150 days to come 
up with a plan to protect national security IT systems and deliver it to 
the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

But the US government can only do so much. Over 80 per cent of IT 
systems classified as part of the US critical infrastructure are in 
private hands. Trump wants the Secretary of Homeland Security, the 
Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Director of National 
Intelligence, and the Director of the FBI (once he has decided who that 
will be) to report on strengthening these systems within 180 days.

      Getting specific

Trump also wants a report, again within 90 days, on how to promote 
transparency in government security purchasing agreements. But the 
president also concentrated on specific threats.

  * He wants reports on the threats posed by botnets within 240 days
    from the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland
    Security. Up to a year later the report will be published, after
    possible revision, so the public can learn how the US intends to
    combat the threat.
  * The Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Homeland Security also
    have 90 days to report on the threat by hackers (but not squirrels
    on the nation's electrical system.
  * The Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security and the head of the
    FBI have a similar period to review the resilience of the nation's
    military and industrial base to attack.
  * "To ensure that the internet remains valuable for future
    generations, it is the policy of the executive branch to promote an
    open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet that fosters
    efficiency, innovation, communication, and economic prosperity,
    while respecting privacy and guarding against disruption, fraud, and
    theft," the report states, without using the term net neutrality. To
    ensure this, Trump wants (you guessed it) a report on how to secure
    the internet in the next (I'm not giving you odds on this)
    /90 days/, this time from the Secretaries of State, the Treasury,
    Defense, Commerce, Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the
    United States Trade Representative, and the Director of National
  * He also wants a report in the next 45 days on how the US can work
    with other countries to secure the internet. This will be produced
    by the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, Defense, Commerce, and
    Homeland Security, in coordination with the Attorney General and the
    Director of the FBI.
  * Domestic training ideas are wanted within 120 days from the
    Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Defense, Labor,
    Education, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, and
    maybe some other agencies. To secure the skills to do this, the
    Director of National Intelligence has 60 days to produce a report
    analyzing other countries' efforts to train an IT security
    workforce. He'll also work with the Secretaries of Defense,
    Commerce, and Homeland Security to report in 150 days on how to
    maintain the US' position in cybersecurity.

There was no mention of encryption, or any plans to allow law 
enforcement to install backdoors. Nor were there any direct plans for 
action – at this stage it's reports only, please.

So basically: expect no movement on cybersecurity over the next three to 
six months. The players will have their hands full preparing the 
hundreds of reports the Executive Order demands, and will be far too 
busy to cope with anything else. ®



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