Critical Infrastructure Security, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

Presidential commission calls for collaborative action to combat cyber threats

The president's Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity today released a 100-page report that called for greater cooperation between the government, the private sector, educational institutions and even individual Americans with the goal of protecting and defending the nation's critical cyber infrastructur hie.

In the Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy the 12-person, non-partisan commission identified six “imperatives” for enhancing cybersecurity, along with 16 recommendations and 53 related actions that it described as both practical and ambitious that will increase the nation's cybersecurity.

“Successful implementation of our recommendations will require significant commitment from both the public and private sectors and extensive cooperation and collaboration between the two. Indeed, enhancing the state of national cybersecurity will require the coordinated effort of a wide range of organizations and individuals,” wrote commission chairman Thomas E. Donilon and vice chairman Sam Palmisano in the report's cover letter. Donilon is vice chairman at O'Melveny & Myers and former U.S. National Security Advisor to President Obama and Palmisano is the former CEO of IBM.

The six imperatives are:

1.       Protect, defend, and secure today's information infrastructure and digital networks.

2.       Innovate and accelerate investment for the security and growth of digital networks and the digital economy.

3.       Prepare consumers to thrive in a digital age.

4.       Build cybersecurity workforce capabilities.

5.       Better equip government to function effectively and securely in the digital age.

6.       Ensure an open, fair, competitive, and secure global digital economy.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said the commission's work should be considered extremely important and that the nation's overall security needs a cybersecurity component.

"I thank President Obama and his cyber team for all their hard work.  America is behind in cybersecurity and we need major investments in both the public and private sector.  In the 21st Century, cybersecurity must be considered part of our nation's infrastructure. That's why the bigger, bolder and fairer infrastructure plan I am working on will have major cyber investments," Lieu said in an email to SC Media.

With the report in hand President Obama placed the ball for ensuring the country's future cybersecurity firmly in the hands of his successor, President-elect Donald Trump.

“As the Commission's report counsels, we have the opportunity to change the balance further in our favor in cyberspace – but only if we take additional bold action to do so. Now it is time for the next Administration to take up this charge and ensure that cyberspace can continue to be the driver for prosperity, innovation, and change – both in the United States and around the world,” President Obama said in a written statement.

Each imperative recommendation includes at least one explicit action item and for each of these the commission indicated when it believes work should commence to accomplish the task.

The commission wrote that President-elect Trump should consider the report a direct call to action noting that the recommendations alone reflect some of the highest priority issues that must be immediately addressed.

“It is critical that the next President and his Administration and Congress begin immediately to tackle each one of the issues raised in this report. The Commission considers this report a direct memo to the next President. Some recommendations call for actions within the first 100 days of the new Administration,” the commission wrote in the report.

The report boils down 10 months of intensive work by the panel of 12 cybersecurity, educational and technology luminaries that were appointed in February 2016 to the task. The commission conducted five public hearings held around the country where it received input from local experts on a host of topics.

The public hearings covered how cybersecurity impacts a variety of areas including, financial services and insurance; R&D, technology and inovation; critical infrastructure; consumers in the digital economy; and cybersecurity in the government and digital economy.

The final meeting was held in September.

Update includes Rep. Lieu's comment.

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.