After constant delays going back over the last two years, the State Department has finally unveiled its plans to establish the new Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy. White House spokesperson Ned Price announced the plans during a press briefing in late October.
The announcement comes after U.S. companies have seen a surge in ransomware attacks, mainly originating from Russia. The new bureau will focus on international cybersecurity, digital policy, and digital freedom.
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The plan was finally put into action thanks to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who put cybersecurity on par with climate, global health, and multilateral technology as critical areas for development on a federal level.
Blinken also said that these efforts reflect “a significant reorientation of U.S. foreign policy that focuses on the forces that most directly and consequentially affect Americans’ lives, livelihoods and security, and that will increasingly be at the heart of our alliances and partnerships, and core to our engagement with strategic competitors.”
Additionally, Blinken made a series of other requests, including a 50% increase in IT funding, and stressed the importance of having the State Department prepared for facing the problems of today and tomorrow.
Plans for a new cybersecurity bureau have been circulating since the Trump administration when there were talks about a Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technology Bureau.
The bureau will be established following consultation with Congress. The Senate is expected to announce an ambassador-at-large as a leader of the new organization. There will be three main units of the cybersecurity bureau, each with a different mission:
- Operations and capacity building
- Cyber policy and negotiations – cooperate with international standard-setting bodies such as the International Telecommunication Union for promoting trusted systems and a multilateral agenda.