White House cybersecurity coordinator position eliminated

Clay Curtis
May 16, 2018

The White House eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator, a National Security Council official confirmed to CBS News on Tuesday. "To do anything less is a direct threat to national security". "Streamlining management will improve efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and increase accountability".

Politico first reported earlier on Tuesday that the position had been scrapped, citing an email from an aide to national security adviser John Bolton that was sent to NSC employees, and provided to the newspaper by a former USA official.

"The role of cyber coordinator will end", Bolton aide Christine Samuelian emailed to staff, Politico reported. The NSC's cyber team has two senior directors, the email said, and thus "cyber coordination is already a core capability". The cyber coordinator role, set up during the Obama administration, was tasked with harmonising the government's approach to cybersecurity and digital warfare.

Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, left his post last week after a 14-month stint.

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Cyber policy experts, legislators and former officials had urged Trump to replace Joyce and not abolish the position.

Senator Mark Warner, the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "it's frankly mindboggling that the Trump Administration has eliminated the top White House official responsible for a whole-of-government cyber strategy, at a time when the cyber threat to our nation is greater than ever".

Netskope's CEO Sanjay Beri says that eliminating the White House's top cybersecurity job is vexing for a number of reasons. We also need to articulate a clear cyber doctrine. On May 3, the Defense Department announced it would be elevating U.S. Cyber Command to a combatant command, putting it at the same level as other unified combatant commanders and allowing Army Lt. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone to report directly to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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