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GAO: State Dept. Needs Greater Agency Involvement in Planning Cybersecurity, Emerging Tech Bureau

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is recommending for the Department of State to involve more agencies in the development of a new bureau focused on emerging technologies and cybersecurity.

The State Department informed Congress of its intent to create the Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET) in 2019 to better address foreign threats to the critical infrastructure and trade operations of the U.S. and its allies, GAO said in a report published Tuesday.

CSET is also meant to streamline international cyber policy resources while promoting government coordination, the watchdog noted. According to GAO, representatives from six agencies that coordinate with the State Department on cyber diplomacy issues reported that the department “did not inform or involve them” in the planning process for CSET.

The watchdog said that the State Department must obtain the views of these six agencies to better identify risks in the establishment of CSET. 

“Without involving and communicating with agency partners on its reorganization plan, State lacks assurance that it will effectively achieve its goals for establishing CSET, and it increases the risk of negative effects from unnecessary fragmentation, overlap, and duplication of cyber diplomacy efforts,” the report states.

Federal agencies covered by the report include the departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, Commerce and the Treasury.