Capacity building 'critical' for cybersecurity, says State official

State Department official Chris Painter backs capacity building to sustain the progress made on the administration's International Strategy for Cyberspace.

Chris Painter

A top official for the State Department's cyber bureau said the need for capacity building, which he described as everything from fighting cybercrime to countering violent extremism online, is essential to sustaining the progress made on the administration's International Strategy for Cyberspace.

"Capacity building efforts are really critically important," the Coordinator for Cyber Issues Christopher Painter said at the National Press Club audience on April 5.

The former prosecutor, who has been leading the charge at State to implement the administration cyber strategy introduced in 2011,  said success depends on getting countries around the world to make sure "they have the right policies in place, the right structures in place and ... are taking it seriously."

Using the examples of the Cyber National Action Plan and the NIST cybersecurity framework as successes, Painter said "the issue over the next five years is getting more and more countries to sign up with this framework."

The framework specifically notes that, as "cybersecurity is a global issue that must be addressed with national efforts on the part of all countries, we will expand and regularize initiatives focused on cybersecurity capacity building—with enhanced focus on awareness-raising, legal and technical training, and support for policy development."

"One key to meeting both the technical and policy issues in cyberspace is building and expanding international partnerships that include other governments, the private sector and civil society" Painter told FCW in a statement. "Much of our work in the last few years has been working with governments around the world to elevate the priority of these issues so that we can take more meaningful action."

Technical threats are constantly evolving, according to Painter, but he stress that the "policy threat" also must be constantly evaluated. An example would be when more repressive countries attempt to "draw up sovereign boundaries around their cyberspace" and take a different view of how technology needs to work. 

The United States must anticipate such challenges, Painter said at the Press Club event, and put the right policies in place to prepare for them.  "This is really not going away," he said  

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