Still at Work: Pompeo Approves Cyberspace Security And Emerging Technologies, a Reorganization

Posted by on January 8, 2021 12:03 am
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Categories: NATIONAL HEADLINES

On Thursday, Secretary Mike Pompeo released the following press statement about a new “Emerging Technologies Department”, detailing a reorganization, which not everyone in the Government is pleased about.

In 2019 Brian Mazanec, Director in GAO’s Defense Capabilities and Management team, was interviewed. He was not pleased about Pompeo’s new Cybersecurity Department, saying, “State is undertaking this proposed reorganization is to improve the effectiveness of their coordination with other agencies, which again, it’s ironic that they didn’t coordinate with set agencies and establishing their plan for the bureau. But it’s definitely very important. These are complex, interagency challenges involving issues such as supply chain security, fifth-generation, wireless technology, TikTok, etc. — issues that you see in the news every day.”

There appears to be a conflict between Government agencies over 5G.

On Thursday, Pompeo’s plan for cybersecurity moved ahead. From the Press release:

Secretary Pompeo has approved the creation of the Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET) and has directed the Department to move forward with standing up the bureau.  The need to reorganize and resource America’s cyberspace and emerging technology security diplomacy through the creation of CSET is critical, as the challenges to U.S. national security presented by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and other cyber and emerging technology competitors and adversaries have only increased since the Department notified Congress in June 2019 of its intent to create CSET.

The CSET bureau will lead U.S. government diplomatic efforts on a wide range of international cyberspace security and emerging technology policy issues that affect U.S. foreign policy and national security, including securing cyberspace and critical technologies, reducing the likelihood of cyber conflict, and prevailing in strategic cyber competition.  The Secretary’s decision to establish CSET will permit the Department to posture itself appropriately and engage as effectively as possible with partners and allies on these pressing national security concerns.

From the 2019 interview, Mazanec talked about the move for independence for the State Department with the news agency:

“The six agencies that we focused on were the Department of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, and the Treasury Department. We selected them in part because of the key role they play in partnering with the State in addressing some of these issues. And in fact, they all work together within the National Security Council in a new cyber response group that was established by a presidential directive in July of 2016. So these are some of the key players, and that’s why we selected them.

There are certainly other federal entities that also would coordinate with this new Bureau and work with State on cyber issues. But these were the big players. And we did meet with all of them and talk about them, their role in State’s plans here. And what we found was that State did not involve any of these key partners in the development of its plans. And in fact, they told us that they were not even aware in some instances that there was a plan to create this new bureau.

So that’s where we came up with our recommendation, in part based on our prior work on government reorganization that emphasizes the importance of including key agency stakeholders, as well as effective state’s own rationale for creating the new Bureau was to improve this internal and external coordination. So we ultimately, because of that, recommended that State involve key federal agencies, the six we looked at, and perhaps others to obtain their views, identify any risks, suggestions for how to best set up this new bureau before they move forward.

The State Department did not consult with the GAO.

RECENT TWEET:

“EU goes forward with China investment deal despite Biden objections, Stanford blames botched vaccine rollout on a faulty algorithm, and AI takes to the skies with the USAF,” according to the link on the Tweet.

“China and EU Strike Investment Deal: On December 30, Chinese and European Union leaders reached an agreement on a deal that would reduce investment barriers and give European companies more access to the Chinese market. Negotiations, which had been underway for nearly seven years, reportedly gained momentum when Germany, which has significant manufacturing interests in China, took over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Council last July. While the agreement will likely be a boon to European companies, a number of observers say the deal is a major strategic win for China. Representatives of the incoming Biden administration appeared to agree, publicly signaling their desire for the EU to delay the deal. Before the deal can take effect, it must be ratified by the European Parliament, where China’s human rights record could become a major barrier.

 

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