The U.S. International Strategy for Cyberspace

May 17, 2011

Cyberspace is interconnected technology. It is everywhere. It is an ecosystem with many stakeholders and literally billions of actors. The rise of Cyberspace as a capability has already changed us in many ways, and for years it has been having an impact on the nation’s strategy. Now, after some great staffing and planning by some of the sharpest minds in our nation and after coordination with allies, industry, academia and scores of thought leaders, a new International Strategy for Cyberspace has been articulated.

As a watcher of cybersecurity developments for the last 15 years I view this as a remarkable strategy, for many reasons. One is that it is a strategy with a clear vision:

The cyberspace environment that we seek rewards innovation and empowers entrepreneurs; it connects individuals and strengthens communities; it builds better governments and expands accountability; it safeguards fundamental freedoms and enhances personal privacy; it builds understanding, clarifies norms of behavior, and enhances national and international security. This cyberspace is defined by four key characteristics:

• Open to innovation
• Interoperable the world over
• Secure enough to earn people’s trust
• Reliable enough to support their work

The strategy goes on to articulate an approach that combines diplomacy, defense and development. And it advances seven key priorities founded in wise examinations of both our own needs and abilities and the vision we have for enhancing the prosperity of the nation and international community.

Another reason I like this strategy is it is actionable. This strategy provides the vision and objectives required for federal agencies to build their implementation plans, so you can expect continued actions from multiple departments and agencies. In the Department of State, for example, we can expect the entire foreign service to be inspired by this strategy. Want some proof that this is actionable? Consider who was at the White House rollout of this strategy. The leadership of the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State and Department of Commerce where all there underscoring their intent.

I would like to leave you with a personal endorsement. I believe in this strategy. It is well coordinated, is focused on the right objectives, respects our nation’s ideas and gives us all a framework of actions we can form up on. I believe this strategy is important enough to be read and studied broadly, not just by national security professionals, and not just by the cyber security community. We should all form up on this strategy.

To help in this regard, start your own study by visiting the links below:

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