Our Dire Need for a National Cybersecurity Agency

As you are reading this, you are using the Internet and are at risk of a cyberattack. Our work, personal, and social lives mostly involves us viewing a phone, iPad, laptop, or computer screen on average at least seven hours a day. Even a routine visit to the doctor is vulnerable. Everyone is at risk of a cyberattack in some form.

As seen in the recent SolarWinds attack, those attacks are becoming more destructive. The United States needs to create a National Cybersecurity Agency (NCA) to strengthen our cybersecurity defense. A new NCA will strengthen policy and infrastructure, build unity of purpose and foster international cooperation. Together, these actions will keep us safer.

We need to defend our economy, security, and individual liberties from cyberattack. The United States is not the only country being targeted; the issue is global. The greater the advances in technology, the greater the risk. Attackers have repeatedly shown they have the capability to access critical infrastructure, including power grids, financial systems, university research platforms, and various R&D centers. Those attacks highlight numerous gaps, such as unpreparedness, unknown threats, inadequate monitoring, easy entry into systems, and human failure.

A National Cybersecurity Agency will strengthen U.S. cybersecurity policy and infrastructure. It will be the focal point of cyber policy formulation, cyber intelligence, and the development of infrastructure that incorporates cybersecurity measures. This agency should have the authority to implement cybersecurity measures within public and private sectors. It would respond to the repeated warnings from Congress and outside experts that our approach to cyber issues needs to elevate protection of economic interests and Internet freedoms together with security.

A single agency will build U.S. unity of purpose. It would improve communication and focus resources. It is about time we have a sole source in charge of cybersecurity. It would reduce mistakes and communication gaps that cause more threats and vulnerability to our cybersecurity infrastructures.

A single agency will foster international cooperation and enable the United States to build trust with other countries. When another cybersecurity attack like the SolarWinds attack happens, information can be gained quickly and efficiently. A single agency will restore U.S. global leadership on cyber diplomacy.

Some may criticize this plan for duplication of effort and expense. However, the point of creating a single agency would be to eliminate the duplication that is currently happening. This will help the United States efficiently combat cybersecurity issues. Many agencies have their own cybersecurity division, but clearly need more help since current efforts are not working. The threats are rising. The fact is, if we do not act now it will be too late. We are already paying one trillion dollars in damages from cyberattacks, so we can afford to open an agency to reduce financial and threat costs.

Creating a new NCA will create a safer environment for everyone. We need to be safe visiting a doctor, filing a tax return, or conducting any other routine activity that crosses cyberspace. As technology develops, so too should our institutions to protect us. The United States needs to act now to ensure national security safety for the next generation.