Napolitano: Cybersecurity is Not a Battlefield

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DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Photo: dhs.gov

Some have characterized cybersecurity as a challenge for the private marketplace, and others have laid it squarely on the shoulders of the military, calling the efforts to secure cyberspace the latest battle frontier.

But, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is having none of it.

Speaking at a cybersecurity conference sponsored by Atlantic Media and Government Executive, the secretary rejected both notions.

“Some categorize the challenge as one for the market, or a looming war,” she said, according to a report on Nextgov. “In my view, cyberspace is fundamentally a civilian space, and government has a role to help protect it, in partnership with the private sector and across the globe . . .  both the market and the battlefield analogies are the wrong ones to use.”

While DHS has the authority to secure the United States’ critical infrastructure, such as sensitive computer networks, the agency won’t be taking the go-it-alone approach, she suggested.

“This has got to be a team effort. No one agency can do it alone,” Napolitano said, according to a report in Federal Computer Week. “Cybersecurity is about effective partnerships and shared security.”

And, DHS is leading by example, having signed an agreement with the Defense Department in October to align their respective cyber forces. The agreement laid out broad guidelines for collaboration and cooperation between the two agencies, including personnel, equipment and facilities.

Napolitano coupled her call for enhanced information and resource sharing between agencies with a call for enhanced college and university training programs to make cybersecurity a “multidisciplinary pursuit.”

The end result will be a “more transparent and inclusive cybersecurity policymaking process . . . that brings the best minds together at the table to make the best choices, she said, according to Nextgov.

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