Given the challenges in securing key information and communications technology (ICT) as well as fostering innovation in this area, a key advisory committee on Tuesday formally recommended that the White House establish a senior adviser position to help coordinate the government’s and nation’s efforts to take these challenges on.
The final report by the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) was approved unanimously by the committee late Tuesday afternoon. The recommendations aren’t new as the 76-page draft Report to the President on Advancing Resiliency and Fostering Innovation in the Information and Communications Technology Ecosystem was released earlier this year.
The report also recommends that the White House senior adviser for ICT work with relevant stakeholders to develop and implement a national strategy for promoting resilient ICT systems and advancing technology in this space.
“This strategy must directly address how the United States can accelerate the development of critical NS/EP technologies and ensure a vibrant, diverse, and trusted supply chain for NS/EP-critical ICT,” says the report. NS/EP refers to national security and emergency preparedness.
The NSTAC is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). CISA will present the report to the DHS secretary’s office, which will submit it to President Trump for potential action.
Grant Schneider, the federal chief information security officer and the senior director for Cybersecurity Policy on the White House National Security Council staff, in his opening remarks during the NSTAC meeting mentioned a slew of directives and policies from the Trump administration in the last year including a national cyber strategy and steps to implement it, including an executive order to secure the ICT supply chain and another executive order to bolster the nation’s cyber security workforce. He also mentioned legislation signed by Trump aimed at strengthening the cyber security of the federal government’s supply chains.
Schneider said the White House will be asking the NSTAC to do another study on the importance of software defined networks to the federal government and critical infrastructures.
The final report on ICT resiliency and innovation was prepared by a subcommittee led by Dave DeWalt, who heads a cyber security investment and advisory firm NightDragon Security.
DeWalt said during the meeting, which was held via a public teleconference, defined trusted technology as “technology that is designed, produced, tested, delivered and serviced following a predetermined set of actions and protocols in accordance with specifications set by customers and not under the influence by any foreign government. It’s defined by actions, not origin.”
The report includes a 14-page case study on fifth generation (5G) wireless technology that lays out concerns about subsidized competition from Chinese firms in this market and makes recommendations for the U.S. to boost development and innovation here.