On May 15, the White House announced that it was eliminating the position of Cybersecurity Coordinator at the National Security Council, the highest position at the White House devoted to cybersecurity. While not unexpected, this move is significant.
Symbolically, eliminating this senior position arguably sends a signal that this Administration is less focused on cybersecurity as a priority.
Functionally, it means there will be no single person in the White House accountable to the President and the National Security Advisor on cyber issues.
Administratively, and perhaps most significantly, the White House’s ability to coordinate cybersecurity among the agencies, arbitrate disputes, and set direction for policy initiatives government-wide will likely be degraded.
While the White House is explaining the move by saying it will streamline management, increase efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and raise accountability, in the short run at least it seems likely to sow some confusion and increase the criticism of federal cybersecurity policy that has already gone on for several years.
Putting it Into Practice: Any hopes companies harbored for increased clarity and leadership from the Administration on cybersecurity seem to be fading. Companies will have to spend more time monitoring the cybersecurity initiatives and requirements of individual agencies, which will likely become less coordinated going forward.