Tags: Cybersecurity | Emerging Threats | Homeland Security | North Korea | Russia | federalist | kapersy

Bolton Misguided on Less is More for Cyberdefenses

Bolton Misguided on Less is More for Cyberdefenses

Thursday, 17 May 2018 02:27 PM Current | Bio | Archive

A major development in the digital landscape occurred this week with the White House eliminating the position of cybersecurity coordinator. The position had been recently vacated last month, with then sitting White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce leaving the post to return to the National Security Agency (NSA).

At the time, the thinking was that the vacancy was just another for a White House lacking many important sub-cabinet government officials. As of late March, the Partnership for Public Service had calculated that of the top 640 jobs that require Senate confirmation, only 275 had been confirmed and were currently on the job. Some 144 other positions have seen nominations that are yet to be confirmed with another 217 positions yet to be addressed.

This decision comes on the heels of another major defection, when just last month, Joyce’s boss, White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert was said to be pushed out of his position by newly sworn-in National Security Adviser John Bolton.

"Tom led the White House's efforts to protect the homeland from terrorist threats, strengthen our cyber defenses, and respond to an unprecedented series of natural disasters," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at the time. "President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well."

Many observers reason that like many other past national security advisers, Bolton is looking to make his mark by putting his own handpicked team in place. Bossert was said to be popular in White House circles and there is no known animus between him and Bolton.

This week’s news regarding the decision to eliminate the vital position last held by Joyce invites far more scrutiny than your standard executive branch replacement.

Just last year, while issuing a warning to American businesses and consumers regarding the use of software designed by Kremlin connected Kaspersky Labs, Joyce told CBS News that he felt the US was lacking some 300,000 cybersecurity experts needed to defend the country.

Little progress has been made towards fully staffing the United States in accordance with the desired manpower expressed by Joyce last year, and with continually emerging global cyber threats and a vital midterm election coming this fall, is having a shakeup in the executive branch’s cyber hierarchy the wisest course of action? "It’s frankly mindboggling that the Trump administration has eliminated the top White House official responsible for a whole-of-government cyber strategy, at a time when the cyber threat to our nation is greater than ever," Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a statement on Tuesday.

Bolton himself, entered the position with very aggressive ideas on combating international cyber threats which he articulated via op-eds, speeches and television appearances where he stated that the U.S. needed to deploy its "muscular cyber capabilities" against the numerous attacks perpetrated by countries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

His goal being, to make the penalties for such actions “so high that they will simply consign all their cyber warfare plans to their computer memories to gather electronic dust.”

With the recent pullout of the Iran deal by the Trump administration, the possibility of cyber retribution exists from a country that has already hacked into hundreds of universities worldwide as well as parts of the US government, including the targeting of its main energy regulator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

In addition to Iran, with the recent pivot from North Korea regarding de-nuclearization talks, America may also be potentially exposed to further digital aggressions from a country that has already taken down IT systems worldwide with the WannaCry malware attacks of 2017. The rapid spreading infection was believed to have been created by the North Korean hacking cooperative, the “Lazarus Group.”

In an email obtained by Politico which was sent to National Security Council (NSC) staffers Tuesday, John Bolton’s aide Christine Samuelian, channeled Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in quoting Federalist Paper No. 70 when she wrote, "eliminating another layer of bureaucracy delivers greater 'decision, activity, secrecy and dispatch.'"

If the "less is more" logic behind the decision to eliminate the White House cybersecurity coordinator position, which is being presented as an effort to "streamline authority" doesn’t work, Bolton may be making his most critical mistake since advocating for the invasion of Iraq.

Julio Rivera is an entrepreneur, small business consultant and political activist. He contributes to RightWingNews.com and NewsNinja2012.com, and had previously covered boxing and baseball for the now defunct "The Urban News" in his native Paterson, N.J. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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If the "less is more" logic behind the decision to eliminate the White House cybersecurity coordinator position doesn’t work, Bolton may be making his most critical mistake since advocating for Iraq's invasion.
federalist, kapersy, senate
Thursday, 17 May 2018 02:27 PM
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