Christopher Painter, Former Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the State Department and Ari Schwartz, managing director of cybersecurity services at Venable, give their perspective on the new federal cyber strategy, and how it builds upon previous iterations.
Last week, the Trump administration released a revised national cybersecurity strategy. National Security Adviser John Bolton referred to the document as a “government-wide strategy.” New tactics outlined in the strategy include authorization of offensive cyber operations, and the development of new tools to conduct them. Ari Schwartz, managing director of cybersecurity services at Venable, says that this strategy builds upon previous cyber efforts. “It’s an evolution from where we were with the executive order in May 2017, which was an evolution from the Obama strategy at the end… which was an evolution from the end of the Bush administration. It’s really just a long line of changes moving in the same direction, but building on top of it,” Schwartz said. “Some of the language surrounding the piece was a little more bombastic than it needed to be, and I’m not sure if that was helpful in the discussion.” Christopher Painter, Former Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the State Department, says that Bolton’s dramatic announcement wasn’t the best way to introduce the policy. “When National Security Adviser Bolton rolled it out, I called his speech ‘cyber-rattling.’ He went out and said, ‘We’re going to be much more aggressive in cyberspace, we’re going to use the cyber tools,’” Painter said. “To be sure, using cyber tools are part of an overall deterrent strategy, you have to have economic, diplomatic, all of them together, but the question is how you use them and when you use them.”