Cyberspace Solarium update finds much work to be done
Martin Matishak August 12, 2021

Cyberspace Solarium update finds much work to be done

Cyberspace Solarium update finds much work to be done

The U.S. government “has a lot of work ahead” of it to implement key recommendations designed to boost the country’s digital defenses, a congressionally-chartered panel warned on Thursday.

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission issued an “implementation” review evaluating the successes in completing the 82 recommendations proposed in the panel’s original report, which was published in March 2020.

“We understand that many of the remaining recommendations are not low-hanging fruit; we need to keep climbing to get many of them done,” the report states. “Many critical recommendations are not implemented yet, but that does not mean we intend to write them off as a loss and move on.”

To date, 75 percent of the commission’s initial policy suggestions have been implemented or are on track to be implemented.

Last year’s defense policy bill alone implemented 25 of the panel’s recommendations, including creating a National Cyber Director, requiring a force structure assessment of U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber Mission Force and establishing a joint cyber planning office within the Homeland Security Department.

Other ideas, like the Cyber Response and Recovery Fund, were included in the Senate’s massive infrastructure  spending package that the chamber approved this week.

Despite those successes, some major proposals have been left unresolved, like creating dedicated congressional cyber committees or enacting a national data security and privacy protection law.

“In the most difficult of cases, implementation may not be possible without significant shifts in opinion from major stakeholders,” the commission’s report states. “As major cybersecurity incidents continue to stack up, such a shift is not impossible.”

“Over the past year, this commission has helped the country take considerable steps to strengthen its cyber defenses. But as recent cyberattacks have made clear, our work is not yet done,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), the panel’s co-chair, said in a statement. 

“Today at the halfway point, we are asking everyone to keep going strong as we work together to make cyberspace safer for Americans,” said Sen. Angus King (I-ME), the Cyberspace Solarium’s other co-chair.

Martin is a cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He spent the last five years at Politico, where he covered Congress, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community and was a driving force behind the publication's cybersecurity newsletter.