The NCSL Blog


By Danielle Dean

The Obama administration has announced the Cybersecurity National Action Plan, designed to examine myriad aspects of digital safeguards.. 

Lock on keyboardThe action plan will look at short term actions and long term policies to enhance capabilities around cybersecurity awareness, network protection and conservation of privacy, public safety and national security.

Key components of the initiative call for:

  • Creating the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Private sector and technical cyber professionals will staff the commission along with designated bi-partisan congressional leadership.
  • Recommending actions to be implemented across the public and private sector for the next decade. Major topics included in the commission will be public awareness campaigns, protecting privacy, maintaining public safety and development of new technology solutions.
  • Creating a $3.1 billion information technology fund to modernize government IT and will create a new position—a federal chief Information security officer.
  • Allowing agencies to invest up front on IT projects. The General Services Administration will establish a new program to protect and secure the data and personal information of Americans when they interact with Federal Government Services such as taxes and benefit data.

Additional agency projects around cyber security include:

  • The Federal Trade Commission’s initiative to provide resources for identity theft victims.
  • The SBA, FTC, NIST and DOE partnerships to offer cybersecurity training to small businesses and stakeholders.
  • Investing more than $19 billion for cybersecurity as part of the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget, which is more than a than 35 percent increase from FY 2016.
  • A program of risk evaluation and management that requires agencies to identify and prioritize highest value and most at risk IT assets and take steps to strengthen their security.
  • Partnerships between the National Cyber Security Alliance and tech companies and civil society organizations to promote the public cybersecurity awareness. The administration will continue to support the Stop. Think. Connect campaign and expand efforts from the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.

Other efforts include:

  • Creating the National Center for Cybersecurity Resilience where companies and sector-wide organizations can test the security of systems.
  • Enhancing the number of cybersecurity advisers available to private sector organizations.
  • Developing a Cybersecurity Awareness Program to test and certify networked devices.
  • Working with the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, a public-private research and development partnership that aims to develop and promote technical solutions for high-priority vulnerabilities.
  • Collaborating with health insurers and healthcare stakeholders to better secure their information systems.
  • Announcing the 2016 Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Strategic Plan, which lays out strategic research and development goals to continue to develop emerging technologies.
  • Partnering with the international community to develop principles of responsible state behavior and deter and disrupt malicious cyber activity.
  • Maintaining network resilience by releasing policy for national cyber incident information sharing coordination with private sector and evaluation of cyber incidents.
  • Announcing an executive order creating the permanent Federal Privacy Council to protect and promote privacy.

Danielle Dean is a policy specialist for NCSL's Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee.

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.