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Cybersecurity Does Not Need a Silver Bullet Agency

The United States is woefully unprepared for a “Cyber 9/11.” Addressing that danger must be a top priority for the U.S. Government, but it does not require a single “Department of Cybersecurity” as some have argued. Creating a new department would shuffle responsibilities, authorities, and people to such a degree it would set the country back at least a decade.

The lessons arising from the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are pertinent. Establishing even basic agency functions in a politically-charged and bureaucratically-challenging environment is daunting. And bureaucratically challenging it would be—the agencies contributing people to the new department would fight the process, giving the department as few resources, authorities and good people as possible, and most likely leaving it hobbled on many levels. I remember hearing stories of DHS Secretary Tom Ridge making his own copies, and the difficulty DHS had in getting pencils and paper.

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