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US Must Engage International Community, Says Former Bush Assistant

US Must Engage International Community, Says Former Bush Assistant - top government contractors - best government contracting event
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As the United States moves toward a more coherent approach to cybersecurity, the question has been repeatedly raised around forming an international agreement on cyber attacks. Neill Sciarrone, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush for Cyber Security and Information Sharing, said, “taking a U.S.-centric approach is not a viable approach.”

At a recent conference hosted by Federal Computer Week and Juniper Networks, several former government cybersecurity professionals addressed a number of concerns surrounding the growing debate in the cyber arena. Mischel Kwon, former director of US CERT, highlighted several of the fundamental problems surrounding discussions of cybersecurity. She pointed to the need to find ways to discuss the problem in an unclassified manner, citing how U.S. enemies know the United States is aware of ongoing cyber attacks.

Ken Minihan, former director of NSA, highlighted several key points. He said discussions of cybersecurity must be part of the national security debate and not separate from it, the threat is real and the United States has mismanaged the issue, and finally the United States needs to take the lead in the international arena to ensure the U.S. influences the debate, saying “shame on us if we lose that advantage.”

Sciarrone provided some useful suggestions on moving forward domestically and abroad with cybersecurity plans. Domestically, she suggests the turf battles need to end, both between agencies and in Congress. The United States needs to decide what needs to be accomplished and then determine which agency is the best lead to accomplish that particular task.

Perhaps a good model for increasing international cooperation would be to give the State Department the lead for the issue abroad, and hold it accountable for it, according to Sciarrone.

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