Cybersecurity

Ben Carson calls for a moon shot in cyberspace

Shutterstock image. Copyright: Albert H. Teich

Ben Carson has released a plan to tackle cybersecurity by channeling effort and expertise from across federal agencies.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he would create a National Cyber Security Administration to deal with the cybersecurity threats the country faces.

To address the so-called Cyberspace Race, NCSA "would consolidate federal cyber efforts under one new agency" because the current approach is "disjointed and ineffective," Carson's plan states.

He said the agency would not be a federal bureaucracy but instead would emulate the NASA moon shot program, which channeled effort and expertise from across federal agencies.

"This will be America's venue to bring together experts and laypersons toward a common goal of securing the country, from the individual user at home to the highest government official," Carson said.

But that approach might not be as easy as it sounds.

"If you were to start another organization, where are you going to pull the leadership from? That's got to be the biggest challenge," Lance Dubsky, chief security strategist at cybersecurity firm FireEye and former chief information security officer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, told FCW.

He said merging all federal cybersecurity activities under one agency would have to be a step-by-step process. "You would have to start with a federated approach," he said.

Carson, who is currently fourth in national polls, mentioned the Office of Personnel Management breach, energy grid attacks in Ukraine and others as examples of why he would launch NCSA. He also noted that terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida, Boko Haram and the Islamic State group have used the Internet to raise funds and spread their messages.

Some of his goals for NCSA include educating users, identifying best practices, researching vulnerabilities and viruses, and determining how to protect privacy and civil liberties.

The Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security currently do most of that work.

"It's already hard enough to manage the current entities that exist, and to manage something even larger [by] pulling everything together -- it takes a tremendous amount of leadership to lead such an organization," Dubsky said.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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