SAN FRANCISCO — With two weeks until the Cyber Solarium Commission’s report is due for release, members of the panel expect its work will be successful because the most important stakeholders had a seat at the table from the beginning.
From the outset of the commission, which will release 75 cyber policy recommendations on a broad range of topics, the executive branch took an active role. Suzanne Spaulding, one of the commissioners, said at the RSA Conference Feb. 25, that representatives of the executive branch showed up for nearly all the commission meetings and helped guide much of the report, making it easier to actually start work on the recommendations the panel is producing.
“Having the executive branch on there means that they are already informed; they know exactly how we got where we got,” Spaulding said. “It made the decision to not take a blue sky aspirational approach that was not realistic, but instead to focus on what is achievable.”
With many commissions, “their report lands and the executive branch then fans it out and they have to familiarize themselves with it — that takes months,” Spaulding said. “Congress has to get up to speed on it and by the time things start moving, you’ve often come to the end of the administration, and then they start all over again with a new commission.”
Members from both chambers of Congress also sat on the commission. Because of the work with congressmen, the final report will include an annex with “pieces of legislation” that Congress can pass pertaining to cyber issues. According to Spaulding, the members were “very interested in making sure that that things would not just fall on somebody’s desk, but actually be achieved.”
Chris Inglis, who sits on the commission, said that the executive branch participants were very helpful in informing some of the legislative recommendations, such as how the legislative branch could improve oversight of the executive branch on cyber issues.
The final report, due out March 11, will include recommendations for federal agencies can better partner both together and with the private sector, how the federal government can better work with allies overseas, and how to approach cybersecurity committee jurisdictions in Congress, according to Frank Cilluffo, another solarium commissioner.
The group also will come out with a series of recommendations on how to increase “synchronization” between the FBI, NSA, DoD and DHS, Cilluffo said.
“You’re going to see some real emphasis on doubling down and enhancing certain agency’s capabilities right now,” Cilluffo said.
Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.