DHS' Beckström: Feds need to define cyber goals

The federal government would be more successful in its cybersecurity efforts if it fully defined its goals, a Homeland Security Department official said today.

"The end state is not adequately discussed,” said Rod Beckström, director of DHS’ National Cybersecurity Center, at AFCEA International’s Homeland Security Conference.

With millions of cyber attacks occurring daily, it is unrealistic to hope for an end to all attacks, he said, adding that it would be better if the federal government set specific goals.

“Do we want a stable Internet for commerce, for communication, for intelligence, for information-sharing or for the warfighter to have an electronic advantage in war?” Beckström asked. “We need clearer directives.”

In addition to a more defined vision for cyber protections, the Obama administration needs to cooperate and collaborate with other countries and the private sector, and it shows signs of doing so, Beckström said. “We have a very collaboration-oriented president. That is strategically significant.”

Reducing hacking and fraud on the Internet will depend on offering rewards and punishments, such as paying a reward to anyone who discovers malicious code and penalizing companies who produce poor-quality code, he said.

He added that improving Internet and network security will require broad cooperation across many organizations. “The Internet is not a command-and-control environment.”

“Someone asked if I was the cyber czar, and I almost laughed,” Beckström said. “There is no such thing. It is not me. I am not Russian, and I am not a czar.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.