In response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, we created the Department of Homeland Security. In response to continued cyber attacks, we should create the Department of Cybersecurity.
As technology advances and threats evolve, the government must be able to adapt to new challenges it faces. That means ensuring the country has the strategy and infrastructure in place to best meet the challenges. In response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, experts identified weaknesses and recommended the creation of a new cabinet level agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), whose sole focus would be to develop and coordinate efforts to protect the homeland. We need to approach the continued threat of cyber attacks in a similar way.
In recent years, there have been many high profile cybersecurity data breaches including in 2015 when the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced a data breach that compromised almost 22 million people’s personal information and during the 2016 election cycle when Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and attacked states’ election infrastructure. The United States is the most frequent target of targeted cyber attacks, and many systems that are critical to national security and daily life are vulnerable. Our electric grid is at risk of a cyber attack that could leave large parts of the country blacked out for days or weeks and cause hundreds of billions of dollars in economic costs. These threats undermine our security, hurt the economy, and can threaten democracy itself. Currently, the responsibility of cybersecurity is strewn across multiple agencies including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within DHS, the FBI within the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Cyber Command within the Department of Defense.
We need a central agency that’s sole focus is to coordinate and implement U.S. cybersecurity strategy which is why Delaney is proposing to elevate the cybersecurity mission by creating a Department of Cybersecurity, led by a cabinet level secretary.