Good News on the Cyber Front

Yesterday brought two important pieces of good news on cybersecurity.

First is the hire of a White House cybersecurity czar, Chris Inglis. The Washington Post has this to say about his position:

Inglis has rejected the idea that his office should be fully in charge of cybersecurity—a responsibility that’s mostly split among his office, U.S. Cyber Command, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. But he’s described his job as equivalent to a football coach—making big picture decisions about what the team should be prioritizing.

Having long advocated for more coordination at the top, I salute the Biden administration for making this move. What to watch out for: in the medieval turf of inside-the-Beltway politics, the football coach may be a good metaphor, one that will not ruffle the feathers of those in command distributed throughout the federal government. In practice, our national defense needs may require more authority. Remember the advantage that both Russia and China have on us structurally by comparison—a centralized internet agency integrated with defense. We are still trying to shoehorn a 21st-century global technology that has implications about everything from military to the economy in an antiquated, early-20th-century federal government structure.

Second, Governor Kathy Hochul announces $60-plus-million investment into New York cybersecurity. New York’s ABCNews7 had this to say about it:

The collaboration will bring together cybersecurity teams from several state entities like Division of Homeland Security, NYPD, MTA, Port Authority as well as federal agencies.

There will also be a $30 million “shared services” program that will help local governments deploy high-quality cyberdefenses.

Per my post yesterday, I guess dreams do come true! I did not know this move was in the works when I dreamed about it last Saturday! Be that what it may, here is what to watch for going forward. Make sure the “shared services” are on par with the big hitters of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Yonkers, Brooklyn, New York, etc.—n.b., there is not a single metro center in either the old or the new 23rd Congressional District in which I ran, not Elmira, not Corning, not Olean. I know—believe me, I know—that it is the Republican giveaway. But it should not have been overlooked for this initial investment, not least given the significance of Corning Inc. (Ithaca, now, BTW, is in the new 22nd District, which includes Syracuse, an obvious Democratic seat +4 Biden.)

And here is where there is room yet to dream: cyber should not be separated from other aspects of the entire broadband rollout. In previous posts I have written about how I see this matter unfolding, with layers of representation from the local to state level. Let me repeat the message: don’t silo cyber! Integrate it with technical hardware and right on up the stack to legal, intelligence and critical use of the internet, guided by a hierarchy of representation from the grassroots to Albany.