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Global Cybersecurity and Intelligence: A Challenge We Can't Avoid

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010

The U.S. government is making significant progress in its understanding of the cyber threat to U.S. national security, as demonstrated by a recent article in Foreign Affairs magazine by the deputy secretary of defense, William J. Lynn. The article also provides useful insights into government programs and capabilities to counter this threat, as well as the role of U.S. intelligence in helping the public and private sectors step up to this emerging national security challenge. More is needed, however, in terms of understanding what's at stake in cybersecurity, improving intelligence regarding adversaries' capabilities, intentions and activities, and creating the mechanisms to couple the public sector's capabilities to the private sector's needs. Finally, the government should consider how best to work together with the private sector in the global environment, so that the capabilities of U.S. intelligence can contribute to a global U.S. cyber strategy that defends the national security and economic security interests of our nation and our allies. Our security, our economic competitiveness and well-being, and the security of the international system depend on how we meet these challenges.

Government interest in cybersecurity has evolved swiftly in recent years. Concern previously focused on the security of military, intelligence and civil government systems on which military, national security and sovereign government operations depend. However, the government now understands that the cybersecurity of information systems crucial to critical infrastructure owned and operated by the private sector, as well as those by the public sector itself, are also of vital concern. ...

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