The National Security Agency (NSA) has announced its intention to create “cybersecurity directorate” in order to defend against foreign cyber interference. The cyber defense arm launch date is currently set to be this fall. According to the NSA, Anne Neuberger, who is currently the Director’s Senior Advisor, will be leading the Cybersecurity Directorate. The advisor also used to serve as NSA assistant deputy director of operations, chief risk officer and head of the NSA/US Cybercom Election Security Small Group that involved in working to prevent foreign interference with 2018 US midterm elections. The launch of this initiative was believed to be motivated by the upcoming 2020 general election.
The NSA continued by stating that this approach to this cybersecurity objective will prepare the NSA in a suitable state to corporate with a key partner across the United States government such as the US Cyber Command, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The initiative will also prepare the NSA to easily share information with the customer with equipped security measure against malicious attacks. According to the Wall Street Journal, the NSA recently concur with a “broader fusion” of intelligence agency’s offensive and defensive portfolio.
On 8th November 2016, Donald Trump won the presidential election. Many people suspected the Russian government had a connection with the Trump campaign. According to the Guardian report of 5th September 2016, the Obama administration announced its retaliation for Russian efforts to interfere with the U.S presidential election, ordering sweeping new sanction that included the expulsion of thirty-five Russians. Based on the US intelligence service, it believed that Russia order cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), then-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign and other political organizations, in an attempt to influence the election in favor of the then-Republican candidate, Trump. Under the Trump administration, the objective includes strategies that aggressive to encounter foreign interference such as China, Russia, Iran and North Korea (CRINK). Led offensively by the Cyber Command and supported by the NSA’s intelligence collecting, these efforts have predominantly focused on stopping election interference.
Questions had been raised whether the initiative is suitable in the current situation of the nation. According to a statement by a former colonel in British military intelligence, Philip Ingram MBE, the US military has been around “for quite a while” and is well-equipped with specialized arm and military capabilities. The cybersecurity directorate could be an objective of the NSA to grab funding, stated by Ingram. He said, “There is always competition between agencies or intelligence funding and I suspect after Trump’s Russian interference debacle, there have been a few ‘rollicking’ flying around –and more money on offer.” He continued “They have been looking at the UK.’s NCSC with some envy and are copying the model- which an only by good thing”. Based on Ian Thornton-Trump, security Head at AmTrust Europe, The NSA has a close association with the military operation that is abroad and it also ranked as the most “sophisticated set of signal intelligence” in the globe today. Conversely, some specialist may have brought the allegation of NSA of spying on the public along with the revelation of Edward Snowden, Thornton-Trump, having government and military providing responsibility for the people could be “disconcerting for some folk”. He also points out that the NSA has been put into a representation of a Venn diagram of having freedom on one side and security on the other. Therefore, it is complicated to advocate for public openness while trying to provide protection to the people without disturbing the privacy of the people.