Photo: Justin Tierney/EyeEm via Getty Images

The idea that the United States needs a centralized, federal Department of Cybersecurity has long bounced around D.C.

The argument for a separate department is pretty simple. Cybersecurity is an issue of growing importance, and it's one that many other nations, including Israel and England, consolidate under one roof. But don't expect to see one anytime soon, said Suzanne Spaulding, former head of the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate (now called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency).

For one, the United States is, however, much bigger than either England or Israel (or both combined). And in a new paper for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Spaulding argues that a centralized system might weaken security for agencies and the organizations they protect.

  • "A significant piece of risk management is understanding the impact of cyberattacks to a business beyond its computer networks," said Spaulding. "Creating a cyber department, you separate IT people from missions people."
  • The Department of Homeland Security, she believes, is better equipped than a third-party agency to work on security standards for the critical infrastructure it is tasked with protecting.

The bottom line: Spaulding isn't saying that there's no use for centralized services. DHS provides many cybersecurity services across the government.

  • But granting regulatory or advisory authority to a new agency would sacrifice the institutional understanding the current agencies already have of their charges.

Go deeper

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 21,243,513 — Total deaths: 766,488— Total recoveries: 13,272,162Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m ET: 5,314,814 — Total deaths: 168,462 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes.
  4. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  5. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  6. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Kamala Harris and the political rise of America's Indian community

Vice presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When Democrats next week formally nominate the daughter of an Indian immigrant to be vice president, it'll be perhaps the biggest leap yet in the Indian American community's rapid ascent into a powerful political force.

Why it matters: Indian Americans are one of the fastest-growing, wealthiest and most educated demographic groups in the U.S. Politicians work harder every year to woo them. And in Kamala Harris, they'll be represented in a major-party presidential campaign for the first time.

3 hours ago - Health

The cardiac threat coronavirus poses to athletes

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cardiologists are increasingly concerned that coronavirus infections could cause heart complications that lead to sudden cardiac death in athletes.

Why it matters: Even if just a tiny percentage of COVID-19 cases lead to major cardiac conditions, the sheer scope of the pandemic raises the risk for those who regularly conduct the toughest physical activity — including amateurs who might be less aware of the danger.