DHS National Security Summit: ‘Cyberattack Greater Than Physical Threat’

2018 DHS Cyber Security Summit

On Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security hosted their National Security Summit at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York City, New York.

According to the DHS government website  July 18th press release announcing the summit their stated goal was,

“to bring together a broad group of representatives from across government including officials from Department of Defense, National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of energy, and Department of Treasury.

They will be joined by academia and industry CEOs across sectors including telecom, financial, and energy to lay out a vision for a collective defense model to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure. Through panels, keynote addresses, and breakout sessions, the summit will serve as a launching point for a number of DHS initiatives to advance cybersecurity and critical infrastructure risk management.”

At Tuesday’s summit DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielson stated, “Cyberattacks now exceed the danger of physical attacks . . . and this has forced us to rethink homeland security” along with “a host of newly announced initiatives, headlined by a National Risk Management Center, set to be a single point of contact for businesses to take advantage of the government’s cybersecurity resources” Axios  reported.

Those in attendance along with DHS Secretary Neilson included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, FBI Dir Christopher Wray, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and Director, National Security Agengey General Paul M. Nakasone. A list of the top CEO representatives from the financial, energy, IT, and telecom private sectors can be found at DHS.gov site here.

Contrary to President Trump who has been sending mixed messages on Russia’s meddling Nielsen appeared to take a tough line at the summit saying the government cannot allow Russian interference again, according to ABCNews .

“Let me be clear on this, any attempt to interfere in our elections is a direct attack on our democracy, it is unacceptable, and it will not be tolerated,” she said. Mark my words: America will not tolerate this meddling.”

As the DHS announces their new headline act of a “National Risk Management Center” TNB readers are reminded of President’s Trump’s third hire for National Security Adviser former ambassador John Bolton’s telegraphed move in May to eliminate the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator position after the departure of Rob Royce floating the idea of folding that position into Bolton’s deputy Mira Ricardel’s responsibilities.

At this time it has not been made clear to the public what, if anything, has been done about the NSC cybersecurity coordinator’s position or who is heading this new DHS initiative announced today. However, what has been reported since then is Bolton has added “two loyalists to the National Security Council…” Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis, according to CNN.

Both have been associated with Bolton for years. Before joining the administration, Tinsley worked at the John Bolton political action committee and the Bolton-run nonprofit, the Foundation for American Security and Freedom. Marquis formerly worked as a managing partner at the public affairs firm Prism Group, but was known in Washington as Bolton’s spokesman. He frequently worked with and fielded press inquiries from reporters after President Donald Trump announced in March he had selected Bolton to replace McMaster.

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