Following the SolarWinds unfortunate data breach, which had a significant impact on 9 Government Agencies, the officials at the White House are looking to impose “substantial costs through cyber and noncyber means”, according to its Interim National Security Strategic Guidance released Wednesday.

What went wrong?

Government agencies could have been more prepared if they had implemented the urgent cybersecurity recommendations from the federal government’s top watchdog, the Government Accountability Office.

“It certainly would have led to an earlier discovery of the attack”
U.S. Comptroller General Eugene L. Dodaro 

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The GAO report and its importance.

The GAO report is providing an early blueprint for how Congress and federal agencies can better work to address the cybersecurity threats raised by the SolarWinds incident.

“We will elevate cybersecurity as an imperative across the government. We will work together to manage and share the risk, and we will encourage collaboration between the private sector and the government at all levels in order to build a safe and secure online environment for all Americans,” 

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Lessons learned

The administration’s deputy national security advisor for cybersecurity and emerging technology, Anne Neuberger, declared that the SolarWind security breach revealed all the investments needed to be made by the federal government in order to increase network visibility and mitigate future cyber incidents. 

Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, said during a press conference, the interim guidance is the administration’s central priority for national security policy and seizes on a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to renew America’s advantages at home and abroad.”

Psaki said the interim guidance will offer agencies a sense of the administration’s priorities before the release of a new National Security Strategy, which the White House expects to release later this year.

The guidance also shows the administration’s commitment to moving up on next-generation 5G connectivity and universal high-speed internet.

Following Biden’s speech at the State Department earlier this year, the interim guidance is much needed for stronger cooperation with the Defense Department, whilst having made sure that the US is having a “responsible use of our military while elevating diplomacy as our tool of first resort.”

The probable outcome

The White House wants to expand federal investments in infrastructure and to build an “unmatched talent base” able to protect the country from cyber threats, whilst elevating the international engagement on cyber issues, working closely with allies to uphold shape global norms in cyberspace.

“Rapid changes in technology will shape every aspect of our lives and our national interests, but the direction and consequences of the technological revolution remain unsettled,” the guidance states.

 “Emerging technologies remain largely ungoverned by laws or norms designed to center rights and democratic values, foster cooperation, establish guardrails against misuse or malign action, and reduce uncertainty and manage the risk that competition will lead to conflict.”

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Things seem to be moving quite fast for the US, The House Foreign Affairs Committee approving the Cyber Diplomacy Act, and giving a pass to the State Department Authorization Act as well. 

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