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Cyber Security Cycle

It seems that the only time cyber security is discussed by national security leadership is either at the start or end of an administration; periods of time when you have no idea how things will play out and when you can't do anything, respectively.

In a keynote address at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warned that the damage caused by a large-scale cyberattack might result in consequences comparable to the Sept. 11, 2001 . . . "We have to look not only at threats that have materialized in the past," said Chertoff. "We have to consider the threats that may materialize in the future. ... We know that a successful large-scale cyberattack against our country would have very wide-reaching consequences."

The remedy is a "Manhattan Project" -like effort that will give us a quantum leap forward in security and capability. If this sounds familiar its because similar proposals have been made - at least twice in two previous administrations - to no practical end.

Such proposals, along with high-hope, day-late efforts like hiring Rod Beckstrom to run the National Cyber Security Center are indicative of how senior officials truly view cyber security. In a world of finite resources you can't do everything, but in an age of information leadership should be seriously preparing for information age threats. Recycling talking points isn't going to help stop the digitally-triggered 9/11, but it most certainly will help facilitate it.