RIP Cyber Coordinator: An Obituary

Collectively these Cyber Coordinators (and their predecessors) have overseen an amazing amount of work: countless new policy directives, strategies, and initiatives that have helped meet the challenge noted by the PCCIP in 1997.

Since 2009, what these officials had in common was a united directorate overseeing all aspects of cyber, both defensive and offensive, so they were relatively strong bureaucratic players, able to work the “interagency process” to bring the various departments and agencies together. This is the first and main casualty of the Trump administration’s elimination of the position.

The loss will perhaps most quickly be felt in cyber incident response, as the Cyber Coordinator oversaw the Cyber Response Group to handle routine and emergency cyber crises. It also will mean that whichever department currently most has the President’s ear will likely most get its way – right now in cyber policy, that most likely means the Department of Defense. The normal interagency process to balance these interests and options will be seriously weakened. Federal cybersecurity, international coordination, cyber workforce … all will be hampered.

Eliminating the position of Cyber Coordinator is a step back and one that will certainly be reversed in future, whether by this president or the next.

Source: RIP Cyber Coordinator: An Obituary

Violence in Gaza: “An Ugly Witch’s Brew”

I’m (Rob Richer, former Associate Deputy Director of Operations at the CIA with deep ties across the Middle East) as concerned—for the long-term implications—that the current administration is trying to link Iran to the disturbances and the crisis between Gaza, Palestine and Israel, as I think you heard from Ambassador Nikki Haley yesterday at the UN. And that’s so far from the truth.

The Iranians will agitate against Israel, but this is purely people who have been subjugated, isolated, not allowed to have free trade, live in very dire conditions—and I have been in Gaza. It’s some of your worst nightmares, if you have to live there without water, infrastructure, the availability to have a job…and look across a fence and see some of the lands that you and your family owned occupied by someone else.

And you realize that the city that you called capital, that was a beacon for you, for religion and everything else—Jerusalem—has now been basically recognized as the state capital of another country. That’s serious.

Source: Violence in Gaza: “An Ugly Witch’s Brew”

Senate Votes to Stop Undoing of Net Neutrality Rules | Time

The Obama-era rule prevented providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps. Critics, including the Trump administration, said over-regulation was stifling innovation.

Three Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to repeal the FCC rule that was scheduled to go into effect next month. The final vote was 52-47.

Source: Senate Votes to Stop Undoing of Net Neutrality Rules | Time

Boston Dynamics will sell its terrifying robot dogs. What could go wrong? | The Boston Globe

And soon they’ll be for sale.

Boston Dynamics will sell the robots, first for commercial uses like “security” and eventually to the public, company founder Marc Raibert said at a TechCrunch conference at the University of California, Berkeley, last week.

No word on pricing, but surely only oligarchs and Bond villains will be able to afford them.

Source: Boston Dynamics will sell its terrifying robot dogs. What could go wrong? – The Boston Globe

Trump’s infrastructure plan hits a dead end | TheHill

President Trump’s legislative framework for a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s infrastructure appears all but dead in Congress.

“The infrastructure week’s been overtaken by the latest tweet,” quipped Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “There’s just no energy left in it.”

Source: Trump’s infrastructure plan hits a dead end | TheHill

In Silicon Valley, Chinese ‘accelerators’ aim to bring startups home | Reuters

The surge in the number of China-focused accelerators – which support, mentor and invest in early-stage startups – is part of a larger wave of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley. At least 11 such programs have been created in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2013, according to the tech-sector data firm Crunchbase.

Some work directly with Chinese governments, which provide funding. Reuters interviews with the incubators showed that many were focused on bringing U.S. startups to China.

For U.S. government officials wary of China’s growing high-tech clout, the accelerator boom reaffirms fears that U.S. technological know-how is being transferred to China through investments, joint ventures or licensing agreements.

Source: In Silicon Valley, Chinese ‘accelerators’ aim to bring startups home | Reuters

At Germany’s SAP, employee mindfulness leads to higher profits | Reuters

“It’s the new jogging,” said Peter Bostelmann, who now runs a global mindfulness program at SAP. “Employees are more healthy and more engaged and they can cope better with a changing world.”

Now SAP (SAPG.DE) is rolling out mindfulness training to all 22,000 German staff and offering consulting services to other firms.

It teaches them to pay attention to the present moment, and tune in to thoughts, feelings and surroundings.

Source: At Germany’s SAP, employee mindfulness leads to higher profits | Reuters

House Speaker Ryan seeks to head off Republican revolt on immigration | Reuters

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told fellow Republicans at the closed-door morning meeting that things were going well for them, and “let’s not create a problem of our own making,” one House Republican lawmaker said, asking not to be named.

Ryan said he was working with the White House on a measure that would win President Donald Trump’s support. At the news conference, Ryan did not provide details or a timetable for advancing such legislation.

So far, 20 of the House’s 235 Republicans had signed a petition to force an immigration debate that would allow the bill with the most votes to advance to the Senate.

Source: House Speaker Ryan seeks to head off Republican revolt on immigration | Reuters

China’s new challenges to the U.S. | FCW

In the last year or so, that line has changed as well. “Give us time” has been replaced with “what’s so great about American democracy?”

Chinese leaders and more and more ordinary Chinese are saying that China’s political system produces more stable and long-term policies, and more vigorous action, than America’s cacophonous chaos. This evolution has been helped along by Trump actions that, for many, put democracy in disrepute.

There is a new, more ominous world of U.S.-China relations that has arisen.

Many Americans are still caught in the older challenges and haven’t coped with the new ones.

Source: China’s new challenges to the U.S. — FCW

DHS releases cyber strategy | FCW

The document, which will guide DHS policy for the next five years, articulates the department’s cybersecurity role as almost entirely defensive in nature.

It lays out five “pillars” of managing cybersecurity risk:

  1. understanding the evolving nature of threats from state and non-state actors,
  2. protecting federal networks and critical infrastructure sectors,
  3. countering transnational criminal hacking groups,
  4. imposing consequences on nation states for malicious cyber activity and globally promoting best practices around cybersecurity.

Source: DHS releases cyber strategy — FCW