Sending Office: Honorable James R. Langevin
According to recent reports, the Administration
has eliminated the post of Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator. The White House cybersecurity coordinator has been instrumental in developing cyber policy and quarterbacking responses to major cyber incidents across
the federal government for nearly nine years. This is a full-time job with complex responsibilities impacting all federal departments and the private sector, and thus requires a full-time position. The decision to remove the role of cybersecurity coordinator
is a grave mistake.
All three cyber coordinators (Howard Schmidt and Michael Daniel under President Obama and Rob Joyce under President Trump) made significant contributions to strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity posture. Having worked with them, we can tell you how critical
the role of cyber coordinator has been to harmonizing cyber policy across the Administration. While U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Homeland Security play key leadership roles, no department or agency has sole responsibility for cybersecurity. Instead,
every department has a role to play, as reemphasized in President Trump’s Cybersecurity Executive Order. Without a dedicated office to advise the President on cyber policy issues, the multitude of authorities and stakeholders threatens to substitute competition
for coordination and undermine the government’s ability to communicate consistent positions regarding cyberspace.
The U.S. must have a consistent position and clear communications about cyberspace. Nations like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea continue to carry out brazen intrusions that fly in the face of international norms of behavior by undermining democratic
institutions, threatening economic security, and targeting civilian critical infrastructure. The Administration must establish policies that balance military and intelligence authorities, defend the homeland, and protect civil liberties in cyberspace. This
is only possible with unified governance of cyberspace issues at the highest level of the executive branch.
The Executive Cyberspace Coordination Act of 2018 would consolidate cyberspace policy responsibilities in a National Office for Cyberspace (NOC) in the Executive Office of the President. This legislation is based on recommendations put forth by the Center
for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency. The NOC would provide a holistic approach to cybersecurity across the government by creating a Senate-confirmed director with responsibility for
recommending security measures and budgets for federal agencies, coordinating issues relating to cyberspace across the government while promoting civil liberties, and centralizing defense of federal information infrastructure in the event of a large-scale
We ask you to join us by cosponsoring this legislation to reinstate and strengthen the position of cybersecurity advisor to the President and finally remove ambiguity about “who’s in charge” of cybersecurity across the government. To become a cosponsor,
or should you have any questions, please contact David Wagner from Congressman Langevin’s office at
David.Wagner@mail.house.gov or 202-225-2735.
Jim Langevin Ted Lieu
Member of Congress Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0