By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON D.C. – White House officials have launched a strategy that the administration says unifies U.S. engagement with international partners on a range of cyber issues for the first time.
The International Strategy for Cyberspace was presented here by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III.
“Cyberspace and the technologies that enable it allow people of every nationality, race, faith and point of view to communicate, cooperate and prosper like never before,” President Barack Obama said in an introduction to the report.
“Citizens across the globe,” he added, “are being empowered with information technologies to help make their governments more open and responsive.”
“I am delighted to carry forward our defense cooperation in the cyber realm,” Lynn said, “and look forward to working closely in this effort with the departments of State, Justice, Commerce and Homeland Security, and under the continued leadership of President Obama.”
In a May 16 White House blog post, White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard A. Schmidt wrote that the international strategy is larger than any one department or agency.
“It is a strong foundation for the diverse activities we will carry out across our entire government,” he added. “It is about the principles that unite our nation, the vision that unites our policy, and the priorities that unite our government.”
The report says the United States will:
– Combine diplomacy, defense and development to realize a future in which cyberspace is open to innovation, is interoperable worldwide, and is secure and reliable;
– Ensure through diplomacy that as many nations as possible have access to the economic, social, political and security benefits of cyberspace;
– Expand the benefits of a connected world by offering its technical resources and expertise through international development to help in building and securing digital systems;
– Protect its networks from terrorists, cyber criminals and states, and will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as it would to any other threat to the country; and
– Encourage positive actions and dissuade those who threaten peace and stability in cyberspace with policies that combine national and international network resilience with vigilance and response options.
The United States reserves the right, the report adds, to use all necessary means — diplomatic, informational, military and economic — to defend the nation and its allies, partners and interests, seeking broad international support whenever possible.
The military’s role in keeping its networks secure will be further detailed in the Defense Department’s forthcoming Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, Lynn said.
Because the commitment to defend citizens, allies and interests extends to wherever they are threatened, the report says, the United States will:
– Recognize and adapt to the military’s increasing need for reliable and secure networks;
– Build and enhance existing military alliances to confront potential threats in cyberspace; and
– Expand cyberspace cooperation with allies and partners to increase collective security.
Over the past year, Lynn said, the Defense Department has worked with officials in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the NATO alliance to strengthen cyber partnerships.
“While our efforts are increasingly linked with many international partners,” he added, “far greater levels of cooperation with more nations are needed if we are to stay ahead of the cyber threat.”
The new international strategy, Lynn said, “provides a framework for how we can expand this cooperation and establishes how network security relates to other crucial areas of partnership.