Biden administration should prioritise cyber capacity for allies, report urges


A report from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has urged the Biden administration to prioritise cyber capacity building for allies and partners.

This suggestion comes as part of eight key recommendations put forth for the administration’s upcoming international cybersecurity strategy.

The report underscores the success of Ukraine’s defences against Russian cyberattacks, particularly on its energy systems, as an example of effective cyber defence. The success is attributed to the collective efforts of partner nations and corporations, which include the US and its allies investing in building up Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.

Annie Fixler, the director of FDD’s Centre on Cyber and Technology Innovation and a co-author of the report, commented on Ukraine’s achievements. Fixler said, “What we’ve learned in Ukraine is that cyber defence works. It is possible to keep attackers out and to respond quickly, to mitigate attacks to recover quickly when that happens.”

The FDD report documented existing programs within multiple departments, such as State, Defense, Justice, Energy, Homeland Security, and Treasury, aiming to bolster cybersecurity capacity. These initiatives involve providing technical assistance, training, and developing strategies and rules. However, the report stresses the demand for these programs exceeds the US government’s current capacity and urges Congress to allocate more funds to these initiatives.

Furthermore, the report calls for prioritising resources from military and civilian US agencies for the international cybersecurity strategy. It also suggests the importance of developing cyber force employment capabilities for allies and considering deployment for offensive cyber operations. Moreover, building cyber resilience in critical infrastructure with allies is a key recommendation.

Nate Fick, the State Department’s Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts. Fick said, “There’s very little that any one country or small group of countries or one company or set of companies can do on its own.”

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