Commentary | July 08, 2011

EastWest Institute Advises Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus

On July 7, 2011, on Capitol Hill, EastWest Institute experts appeared before Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Rep. James R. Langevin (D-Rhode Island), leaders of the 112th Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, as well as staff from the Department of Defense, Department of State and National Security Administration.

EWI provided advice on how countries can work together to protect cyberspace – a formidable challenge, given that a cohesive cyber policy in the U.S. alone is a work in progress, with over a dozen draft cybersecurity bills circulating Congress.

“The conversation among nations is still in its nascent stages,” said the U.S. National Security Council’s former Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace Melissa Hathaway. Hathaway is now a member of the EastWest Institute’s Board of Directors.

EWI’s Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit, held June 1-2 in London, was a useful model for international collaboration, according to Hathaway, who spoke along with EWI President John Mroz, Lt. General (Ret.) Harry D. Raduege, Jr., Chairman of the Deloitte Center for Cyber Innovation, and EWI Chief Technology Officer Karl Rauscher.

At the summit, more than 450 public and private-sector delegates from 43 countries worked towards practical steps for everything from fighting cyber crime to ensuring that emergency messages can traverse congested telecommunications networks.

“What encourages me is that we had senior representatives from governments and corporations,” said Raduege, adding that networking and information-sharing are vital. Raduege is a member of the EastWest Institute’s President’s Advisory Group.

The experts also emphasized the importance of private-public partnerships or, as Hathaway put it, conversation between the “geeks” (technical experts) and the “wonks” (policy leaders). The private sector should lead cybersecurity efforts, according to Rauscher, particularly when it comes to ensuring that digital hardware and software are not infected.

“The commitments of governments that they will make procurements based on better reliability and security will make a difference,” said Rauscher.

McCaul asked the experts to speak about the potential for a treaty on cyber warfare.

Mroz and Raduege both said that the first step to international agreements are bilateral and multilateral dialogues on specific cybersecurity threats. Earlier this year, EWI-led U.S.-Russia talks on “rules of the road” for cyber conflict produced an attention-getting report at the 2011 Munich Security Conference, and a team of U.S. and Chinese experts published joint recommendations on reducing spam.

Mroz cautioned, “If you’re waiting for a big treaty, it may be too late.”