Federal cybersecurity a ‘team sport,’ says top official

Admiral Michael Rogers serves as commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency. Last month, Rogers delivered the keynote address at a cybersecurity conference in Baltimore. As Federal Times reported, Rogers discussed the nature of federal cybersecurity efforts. In particular, the country's leading cybersecurity official emphasized the importance of teamwork as agencies strive to thwart malicious cyberattackers.

Partnerships needed
Rogers noted that while he has only held command for a little more than three months, he quickly came to appreciate the importance of teamwork for cybersecurity.

"One of my first take-aways is cyber is the ultimate team sport. There is no one single organization that has all the answers, there is no one single technology that will solve all of our problems, meet all of our challenges," Rogers said, the news source reported.

This teamwork must extend beyond intra-agency efforts, Rogers explained – the federal government  must also take steps to partner with experts in both the private sector and academia. This is a challenge, especially due to the simple fact that national security issues prevent agencies from fully trusting such partners with all of the available information. Yet despite these obstacles, federal cybersecurity agencies are making significant progress toward developing partnerships with these groups and individuals.

Legislation issues
Beyond the need for greater teamwork, Rogers also pointed out that legislation plays a key role in federal cybersecurity efforts.

"I believe that cyber legislation remains a very important part of this journey because while the voluntary basis for information-sharing that we have been using for the last few years has shown some progress, it just has not gotten us where we need to be," he said, the news source reported.

The commander pointed out in particular private sector organizations' concerns regarding liability in and information-sharing for cybersecurity purposes. 

In doing so, Rogers effectively offered his support for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act or a similar piece of legislation. The Senate Intelligence Committee recently advanced CISA, moving the bill closer to receiving a vote.

This bill is controversial, though, as many critics fear it does not go far enough to protect individuals' privacy. However, supporters of the bill argue that the legislation is necessary to improve the effectiveness of cybersecurity efforts in both the public and private sectors.