CTT Welcomes Creation of the Solarium Commission

In May, U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) formally launched the Cyberspace Solarium Commission with the purpose of developing a national cybersecurity strategy. Modeled after President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1953 Project Solarium, members of congress, administration officials, and cyber and private sector experts comprise the commission’s 14 members:

  • Sen. King (co-chair)
  • Rep. Gallagher (co-chair)
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
  • Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI)
  • Deputy Director of National Intelligence Susan Gordon
  • Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist
  • Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security David Pekoske
  • FBI Director Chris Wray
  • McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security Director Frank Cilluffo
  • Southern Company President/CEO Tom Fanning
  • Chris Inglis, professor of Cyber Security Studies at U.S. Naval Academy and former deputy director of the National Security Agency
  • Former Representative and Army Undersecretary Patrick Murphy
  • Samantha Ravich, vice chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and former principal deputy national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney
  • Suzanne Spaulding, senior advisor for Homeland Security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former under secretary of National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security

Authorized by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, the commission focuses on three main areas of concern:

  1. The role of the public and private sectors in securing America’s IT infrastructure
  2. How the Department of Defense should address cyberattacks from foreign adversaries that harm American’s economic and national security.
  3. How the U.S. its allies should establish promote norms in cyberspace globally.

The commission understands the scope of cyber threats and how successfully confronting them requires vigilance on multiple fronts. These threats were accurately summarized  by then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats earlier this year:

“Despite growing awareness of cyber threats and improving cyber defenses, nearly all information, communication networks, and systems will be at risk for years to come. Our adversaries are becoming more adept at using cyberspace capabilities to threaten our interests and advance their own strategic and economic objectives. Cyber threats will pose an increasing risk to public health, safety, and prosperity as information technologies are integrated into critical infrastructure, vital national networks, and consumer devices.”

Democrats and republicans in Congress have consistently raised alarms about cybersecurity, supply chain security and the tech threats from foreign adversaries.  This is evident in numerous bills  introduced throughout the year. What has been lacking is an overarching framework that effectively informs and guides federal policy.

CTT is hopeful that the Solarium Commission – given its composition, transparency and willingness to listen to outside opinions, will lead to an informed, substantive recommendations in the spring of 2020.

We look forward to following the commission’s work over the next several months.