State Department Announces Cyber Bureau

The Trump administration effectively eliminated the cybersecurity role in the State Department several years ago by eliminating its leader and burying the function in the State Department bureaucracy. Their theory was that the White House National Security function could assume the diplomatic role for cyberspace. Ultimately, that strategy failed and towards the very end of the administration they attempted to undo the damage.

The State Department announced the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) began operations today. The creation of the bureau was announced late last year.

The new cybersecurity bureau reflects the growing importance of cybersecurity in national policy, economy, and defense.

It includes three policy units:

  • International Cyberspace Security,
  • International Information and Communications Policy, and
  • Digital Freedom,

The State Department hopes to have 100 people working at the bureau by the end of the year.

The head of the bureau will be an ambassador-at-large and will need to be confirmed by the Senate. Jennifer Bachus, a career foreign service official, will fill the acting role until the Senate confirms a permanent leader.

The State Department has announced acting heads of each of the policy units:

  • Michele Markoff, as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Cyberspace Security. Markoff has been the senior State Department subject matter expert overseeing the development and implementation of foreign policy initiatives on cyberspace issues since 1998.
  • Stephen Anderson, as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Information and Communications Policy. Anderson will lead development of international Internet, data, and privacy policies and related negotiations with foreign governments.
  • Blake Peterson, as Acting Digital Freedom Coordinator. Peterson previously served as the advisor on Internet governance in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Secretary.

Given the current war in Ukraine and Russia’s attempt to get the UN to create a cyberspace policy, it seems very important that US diplomatic activity in the space ramps up and it looks like it will. Credit: Nextgov

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