May 24, 2018

Senate Defense Authorization Act calls for cyber doctrine panel

Laptop showing a logo for suspected-Russian hackers Fancy Bear, designed by security company Crowdstrike

A logo for suspected-Russian hackers Fancy Bear from a security firm's promotional material, as seen in front of the German Parliament, which Russia is believed to have hacked. Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty

The Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed Thursday afternoon, would create the Cyberspace Solarium Commission — a 13-person committee containing representatives from both elected branches of government and the private sector to suggest a concrete national policy for cyber warfare.

Why it matters: Senators like Ben Sasse (R-Neb.,) who drafted the Solarium language, and John McCain (R-Ariz.) have long argued that the U.S. needs a definitive cyber doctrine explaining what the U.S. responses will be to which types of cyber attacks and when cyber or physical engagement is necessary.

The background: The complaint predates the Trump administration — both the current president and Barack Obama argued that having no doctrine gives them greater flexibility.

  • The Solarium Commission's name is taken from President Eisenhower's commission to determine cold war strategy.
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