GOP platform stresses offense, information-sharing on cybersecurity

Cybersecurity may not rank up there with abortion and taxes as a hot-button election issue, but the Republicans' 2012 party platform does spell out a clear GOP position on the topic.  And not surprisingly, it takes issue with the Obama administration's approach.

The current framework "is overly reliant on the development of defensive capabilities and has been unsuccessful in dissuading cyber-related aggression," the document, which was approved by GOP delegates on Aug. 28, states. It dismisses current efforts as a "costly and heavy-handed regulatory approach" that undermines "what should be a collaborative relationship and [puts] both the government and private entities at a severe disadvantage in proactively identifying potential cyberthreats."

The platform promises that a Republican cybersecurity strategy would stress public-private information-sharing, and free private companies "from legal and regulatory barriers that prevent or deter them from voluntarily sharing cyberthreat information with their government partners."  Similar recommendations were made in a July report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, and in legislation introduced in March by GOP Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) and John McCain (Ariz.).

The Republican platform also declares that an effective strategy should recognize "the importance of offensive capabilities" -- something that the Obama administration has not explicitly stated, though both the Stuxnet virus and Marine Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills' recent comments about using "cyber operations against my adversary" in Afghanistan suggest cyber-offensives are already part of the mix.

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