A cyber security executive order awaiting President Trump’s signature is aimed at improving nation’s hacker defenses
The cyber security executive order includes a plan to have the U.S. military review what kids are learning about cyber security in school. The president was expected to sign the mandate Tuesday. But instead Trump met with NSA director Admiral Mike Rogers, senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief strategist Steve Bannon and other national security officials to discuss it.
The executive order on cyber security seeks to consolidate responsibility for protecting the government from hackers. Right now, every agency is in charge of defending itself. This has caused years of consternation for the White House and agencies like Homeland Security, as each agency has different IT practices and exerts jurisdiction over its own networks.
Trump, at a White House event with top officials to discuss his order, said his cyber security executive order would “hold my Cabinet secretaries and agency heads accountable, totally accountable, for the cybersecurity of their organizations.”
We must protect federal networks and data,” Trump added. “We operate these networks on behalf of the American people and they are very important. We will empower these agencies to modernize their IT systems for better security and other uses.”
The cybersecurity plan will also focus on protecting U.S. critical infrastructure, such as power plants and electrical grids, Trump said. Electrical grid security is a problem, “but we’ll have it solved relatively soon,” he promised.
During the briefing, Trump took a shot at the Democratic National Committee, which hackers infiltrated during the presidential campaign.
“Despite how they spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars more money than we did, the Democratic National Committee was hacked successfully, very successfully, and terribly successfully,” he said. “And the Republican National Committee was not hacked. Meaning it was hacked, but they failed. We had a very strong defense system against hacking.”
A signing ceremony was planned for Tuesday afternoon but an aide said it had been postponed. When signed, the order will give the White House budget office a central role in assessing cyber-risks for the entire executive branch, and will require agency heads to develop plans to modernize aging information technology systems, a White House official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Trump has already proven that his pen is mightier than any sword and that signing is the easy part. If his travel ban is anything to go by, change is not always accomplished by a pen stroke. Doubtless, there will be much to after the cyber security executive order is signed.