After months of criticism for lacking a cohesive federal approach to cybersecurity, President Donald Trump’s new national cybersecurity strategy, released Sept. 20, has been largely met with praise from former government officials, business executives and political opponents.
The strategy calls for more offensive cyber attacks and attempts to bolster America’s digital defenses by creating new norms online.
On Twitter, Michael Daniel, the Obama administration cyber czar and president of the Cyber Threat Alliance, praised the plan. He cast Trump’s strategy as an evolution of U.S. policy from previous eras.
“This document shows what a national strategy can look like on an issue that truly is nonpartisan,” Daniel said. “It strikes a good balance between defensive actions and seeking to impose consequences on malicious actors. Further, it’s clear that this strategy is a reflection of a strong policy development process across administrations.”
Business executives in the cybersecurity also offered broad support of the new cyber strategy.
“This is the most comprehensive cybersecurity strategy document ever published — firmly stating a vision of the United States as ensuring a secure internet by cooperation or force,” said Bryson Bort, founder and CEO of the cybersecurity firm Scythe. “It reads like a response to former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers’ February congressional testimony where he acknowledged current constraints in responding to the active threat landscape the U.S. faces.”
Leading lawmakers from the Democratic Party offered support for the president’s new plan as well.
“The White House strategy document outlines a number of important and well-established cyber priorities,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. “The administration must now move beyond vague policy proposals and into concrete action towards achieving those goals.”
Trump’s national cyber strategy comes after a September government watchdog report said that there was no unified policy the United States was taking online. But in a call with reporters Sept. 20, national security advisor John Bolton portrayed the new strategy as a response to that criticism.
“Well, that's the purpose of a government-wide strategy,” Bolton said.
Among the dissenting voices was Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I, who said the plan is “largely a restatement of recommendations that have carried through the last several administrations.”
Langevin said that “the document often fails to provide the strategic guidance regarding what trade-offs we should expect to make between regulating, supporting, and responding to the needs of critical infrastructure owners and operators.”
Justin Lynch is the Associate Editor at Fifth Domain. He has written for the New Yorker, the Associated Press, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and others. Follow him on Twitter @just1nlynch.