The National Cybersecurity Strategy proposed a different tact to protecting the country’s critical infrastructure, shifting the responsibility from end users to organization supplying systems while also creating incentives for those organizations to produce resilient systems.

And now there is an implementation plan that details how this administration is going to meet the goals laid out in the March-released plan with “65 high-impact initiatives requiring executive visibility and interagency coordination.” This is a more detailed implementation plan than any previous Administration has offered and provides a good deal more information on how the government is working toward the goals of the strategy.

For each of the initiatives there is a brief description, reference, and responsible agency. The initiatives range from regulatory harmonization, setting requirements for critical infrastructure, increasing the speed and scale of intelligence sharing and victim notifications, exploring a federal cyber insurance backstop, reinvigorating federal cybersecurity research, and strengthening cyber capacity with international partners. The implementation plan will be updated every year.

It is an ambitious plan and not without its share of challenges. Progress has already been made but that has been met with opposition. The Environment Protection Agency already issued new cybersecurity regulations for the water sector which has not exactly been met with open arms by everyone. The administration needs to help stakeholders find the resources to help these critical infrastructure agencies make the necessary updates.

Regulatory harmonization is another area that bears watching. Too often organizations are burdened with multiple audits that have overlapping requirements with different regulations. Simplifying regulations so if a requirement is met for one reg it can also be checked off for another would free up understaffed cybersecurity offices to focus on other areas.

Two other areas that bear watching is around software liability and Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) will be looking at approaches for a software liability framework and CISA will be leading the initiative on SBOM.

Overall, the implementation plan is impressive in its scope and detail. The Center looks forward to working with ONCD and the other responsible agencies to help implement the strategy.

Ari Schwartz

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