Message for the New President

Cyber-security is now a major national security problem for the United States, and the White House should lead the way in establishing a comprehensive national strategy to protect the nation’s cyber networks, a Center for Strategic and International Studies-sponsored panel recommended last month. “We are in a long-term struggle with many who wish to harm our digital networks and infrastructure and who continue to severely damage the economic health and national security of our nation,” Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), co-chair of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency, said in a release. CSIS brought together the panel in August 2007 to make recommendations for the new Administration. The commission issued its final recommendations in December. (Full report) Among its findings, the panel called for reinventing the public-private partnership for promoting better cyber-security; going beyond voluntary actions and regulating networks; modernizing relevant laws; and building capabilities so that the US remains a leader in the cyber-security realm. “The computer networks that control our most sensitive information and our critical infrastructure should be guarded with the same vigilance as our airports and borders,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), co-chair, in a release. The panel stated that decisions and actions taken under any new strategy must respect private and civil liberties. Further, only a strategy that embraces both the domestic and international aspects of cyber-security will endure, it said. The other co-chairs are industry executive Scott Charney, and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, former director of the Defense Information Systems Agency. Langevin, who heads the House Homeland Security emerging threats, cyber-security, and science and technology subcommittee, and McCaul, its ranking member, have founded the House Cyber-security Caucus that is expected to have its inaugural meeting soon.