National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department
2017 Cybersecurity Policy Priorities (Select Examples)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made economic growth its driving focus for 2017.
Recent years have seen a surge of business and government investments and innovations in the
field of cybersecurity. Policy developments used to be driven almost exclusively by
government, but today companies are valuable partners in the quest to protect U.S. networks
and information systems.
Enhancements to America’s information security will help drive growth in our
economy. Through sharing ideas, innovations, and visions with one another, business and
government leaders are better able to coordinate efforts and anticipate challenges that could
impact organizations’ security and resilience. Some key policies that the Chamber seeks to
advance this year are as follows:
Advocating for the Cybersecurity Framework and Supporting Small Businesses
The Chamber urges the administration to support the flexible industry-National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure
Cybersecurity (the Framework). The voluntary Framework, which the Chamber actively
promotes through its national campaign, has received much praise from public and private
organizations at home and overseas.
Small and midsize businesses (SMBs), which account for a significant percentage of all
U.S. businesses, are more innovative, agile, and productive than ever, owing to the capabilities
delivered by information technology (IT). To be sure, since IT is critical to the delivery of goods
and services for all businesses, smartly addressing risks associated with doing business in a
cyber environment must be a priority. State and local governments should also make cyber
The White House and agency chiefs need to work with regulated industry sectors to
harmonize cyber regulations with the Framework. The Chamber wants to see this
initiative begin this year. Streamlining overlapping and/or conflicting cyber red tape is
a top priority.
The development and use of cyber metrics is a work in progress. Businesses regularly
use quantitative and qualitative data to understand the status of their organizations’
information security programs. Yet such subjective data are held closely by these
businesses. Industry actors should never be compelled formally or informally to disclose
metrics to third parties.
The federal government should support ambitious public- and private-sector efforts to
help private enterprises manage cyber supply chain risks internally and with their
suppliers and partners. Examples include NIST’s January 2017 draft update to the
Framework, in which the Chamber is a participant.
Government and business leaders should consider ways to help SMBs and state and
local governments use the Framework and analogous tools (e.g., NIST’s Small Business
Information Security: The Fundamentals guide).
Leveraging Cyber Threat Information and Incident Data
Most policy and business observers agree that effective cyber information sharing is an
important method of protecting organizations’ computer systems. The Cybersecurity
Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) is off to a good start and does not need amending.
In addition, the Chamber commends the Commission on Enhancing National
Cybersecurity’s (the Commission’s) push to create “reverse Miranda protections” for industry.
Businesses should be able to freely discuss cyberattacks in a safe venue without fearing that
regulators would use the information against them with respect to liability, rulemakings, and
Further, the Chamber endorses piloting a CIDAR—shorthand for a cyber incident data
and analysis repository. An experimental CIDAR, initially administered by the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS), can offer tangible upsides to U.S. cybersecurity, including helping
insurers develop cyber coverage and best practices for their customers.
To establish so-called reverse Miranda protections, the administration and Congress
should work with industry to identify changes in statutes, regulations, or policies urging
companies to voluntarily share information about their risk management practices.
Private and government entities should join the Chamber in urging businesses to use the
Framework, become a member of an information-sharing body, and take advantage of
the CISA/Automated Information System as appropriate.
Data submitted to a CIDAR need to be made anonymous, and additional sharing
protections would probably be needed.
Protecting the Internet of Things (IoT) and Increasing Businesses’ Gains
Many companies go to extraordinary lengths to incorporate security into the design
phase of the IoT devices that they make and sell globally. The Chamber wants both device
makers and buyers to gain from the business community leading the development of
state-of-the-art IoT components that can be used in settings such as manufacturing,
transportation, energy, and health care. Strong IoT security should be a win-win proposition for
both makers and purchasers.
The Department of Commerce, especially NIST, did an admirable job convening many
organizations to develop the Framework. The Chamber believes that the department is
well-positioned to convene IoT stakeholders to identify existing standards and guidance.
Embedding Cybersecurity in Global, Industry-Driven Standards and Fixing Wassenaar
Cybersecurity standards and best practices are optimally led by the private sector and
adopted on a voluntary basis. They are most effective when developed and recognized globally.
Such an approach would avoid burdening multinational enterprises with the requirements of
multiple, and often conflicting, jurisdictions.
Also in the international realm, “intrusion software” provisions were added in 2013 to
the Wassenaar Arrangement’s (WA’s) list of dual-use goods and technologies subject to export
control. The language used by the WA has unintended consequences that undermine defensive
International policymakers should align their cyber programs with the Framework,
which is biased toward a standards- and technology-neutral approach to managing
Policymakers need to support NIST’s strategic engagement in international
standardization to attain U.S. cyber objectives.
The Chamber will press the administration to engage in the 2017 WA negotiations to
achieve meaningful changes to the controls on intrusion software. The administration
should refrain from implementing the controls on intrusion software until the core
defects in the WA are fixed.
Clarifying Federal and Industry Roles and Responsibilities and Getting Government
It is constructive that the Commission called for continued work on clarifying the roles
and responsibilities of the public and private sectors. On paper, the Department of Justice (DOJ)
and the FBI investigate and prosecute cybercrimes. DHS leads the protection of critical
infrastructure. The Department of Defense (DoD) defends the nation from major attacks that are
synonymous with acts of war. It’s not clear to the Chamber that the three groupings have the
resources and the interagency coordination they need to excel in the duties policymakers
assigned to them.
Relatedly, federal agencies should lead by example on improving U.S. cybersecurity. In
the last Congress, the Chamber supported the Modernizing Government Technology Act of
2016 (MGT Act). Many parts of the federal government’s IT infrastructure are woefully
outdated. The MGT Act authorized two IT modernization funding streams to improve, retire, or
replace current technology systems and much more.
Many companies tell us that they remain uncertain when their obligations to guard their
enterprises from a cyber incident end—particularly in the wake of a nation-state
attack—and the government’s assistance begins. The process for handing off the cyber
baton warrants deeper discussion, comprehension, and exercise.
Future congressional legislation and the fiscal 2018 budget process give stakeholders the
opportunity to better sync missions of the DOJ/FBI, DHS, and the DoD with the
resources allotted to them.
The Chamber intends to support legislation similar to the MGT Act in the 115th
Writing a New Cybersecurity Strategy That Features Business Input and Negotiating Toward
Acceptable Behaviors in Cyberspace
Despite the existence of written doctrines (e.g., defense and international strategies), the
U.S. cybersecurity strategy is seemingly uncertain both to many in the private sector and our
adversaries. America’s approach to cyber is at an inflection point. Industry is frequently the first
to bear the brunt of cyberattacks coming from our nation’s adversaries, and public policy
should be adjusted accordingly.
Policymakers should discuss the United States’ cyber strategy with the business
community before, during, and after the strategy is written. A wide range of issues must
be wrestled with among multiple government and industry parties. In the cyber arena,
authorities’ intentions are often not accomplished without the significant buy-in of many
sectors and companies.
The Chamber supports commerce, not conflict. Defense and resilience must be the
strategy’s core pillars. Indeed, a strategic priority should be to increasingly deny our
opponents’ ability to conduct harmful cyber activity against the business community
and the nation.
Public-private policymaking needs to spotlight increasing adherence to international
norms and deterrence. U.S. deterrence policy has so far prevented cyberattacks that may
cross the line into armed conflict. But our national deterrence deficit lies in our struggle
to stymie attacks by criminal groups and foreign powers that fall into the malicious
middle of the attack spectrum. This middling sweep of aggressions is bookended on the
one hand by relatively minor attacks (e.g., pings) and acts of war on the other.
(Revised March 2017)