Congress Moving Quickly to Codify Cyberspace Solarium Commission Recommendations

Politico’s “Morning Cybersecurity” newsletter reported this week that while the focus of lawmakers continues to be handling the current health crisis, Congress will potentially enact many of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s recommendations for boosting federal cybersecurity in the coming months. As we reported in a previous blog, “ welcomes Cyberspace Solarium Commission Report,” the Commission’s much-needed report, spearheaded by Rep. Mike Gallaher (R-WI) and Sen. Angus King (I-ME), recommended boosting the military’s cyber operations and protecting national security networks from hackers through a strategy of layered cyber deterrence. A tech industry representative confirmed to Politico that many of these recommendations will be included as a part of the base text of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The NDAA is also not the only opportunity for the recommendations to be enacted. According to the tech industry representative, there is movement towards reviving the White House’s Office of the National Cyber Director, a role which oversees the federal government’s cybersecurity preparedness and defense at all levels. This is certainly welcome news, particularly during an unprecedented work-from-home period in which the nation’s cyber infrastructure is being put to the test.

As the newsletter reports, our new cyber-intensive reality has shone a spotlight on the Commission’s recommendations, as “A pandemic forcing America’s workforce and culture to communicate strictly through cyber means has demonstrated the incalculable importance of the strongest information technology infrastructure possible.” Lawmakers should take advantage of this new momentum to make up for IT discrepancies that leave us exposed, including the ones reported by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General during the last Pentagon audit. Weak processes with contractors that put government at risk through the purchasing of vulnerable products should be a priority among other recommendations.