CybersecurityWhite House eliminates Cyber Coordinator position

Rob Joyce, the White House Cyber Coordinator, left his position Friday to return to the National Agency (NSA), and the White House, instead of replacing him, has decided to eliminate the position. Gary Kasparov, Russian chess champion and critic of President Vladimir Putin, said that doing away with that job as the United States is still trying to cope with the impact of Russia’s 2016 election interference, and as it faces ongoing and mounting cyberthreats and , is “[l]ike eliminating the Navy after Pearl Harbor.”

Rob Joyce, the White House Cyber Coordinator, left his position Friday to return to the National Security Agency (NSA), and the White House, instead of replacing him, has decided to eliminate the position.

Politico reported last week National Security Advisor John Bolton wanted to cut the position:

According to an email sent to National Security Council staffers Tuesday, the decision is part of an effort to “streamline authority” for the senior directors who lead most NSC teams. “The role of cyber coordinator will end,” Christine Samuelian, an aide to Bolton, wrote in the email to NSC employees, which Politico obtained from a former U.S. official.

The NSC’s cyber team has two senior directors, Samuelian wrote, and thus “cyber coordination is already a core capability.”

The Committee to Investigate Russia notes that President Obama created the cyber coordinator role specifically “to harmonize the government’s overall approach to cybersecurity policy and digital warfare.” Doing away with that job as the United States is still trying to cope with the impact of Russia’s 2016 election interference, and as it faces ongoing and mounting cyberthreats and attacks, is – as best put by Russian chess champion and Human Rights Foundation Chairman Garry Kasparov – “[l]ike eliminating the Navy after Pearl Harbor.”

Politico continues:

Cyber policy experts, lawmakers and former officials had urged Trump to replace Joyce and not to abolish the position.

“I don’t see how getting rid of the top cyber official in the White House does anything to make our country safer from cyber threats,” Senate Intelligence ranking member Mark Warner (D-Virginia) tweeted Tuesday.

(…)

The cyber coordinator led a team of directors and senior directors who worked with agencies to develop a unified strategy for issues like election security and digital deterrence. The coordinator also represented the administration in meetings with foreign and at conferences and other public events.

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