A reorganization at the State Department will lead to the shutdown of the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, the group that helped broker the U.S. cyber pact with China to eliminate corporate cyberattacks, and fold it into the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
The office’s coordinator, who currently reports to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will move down the command chain, Bloomberg reported, citing two sources who wished to remain anonymous.
The reshuffling is seen as lowering the priority of cybersecurity. “It’s taking an issue that’s preeminent and putting it inside a backwater within the State Department,” said Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Robert Knake, formerly the director of cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, who established the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues in 2011. “Position to power matters both within the U.S. government and within the international community.”
Reports of the change come just a couple of days after news broke that the office’s coordinator Christopher Painter was slated to leave his position at the end this month.