Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Caresse Haaser/Axios

The U.S. still doesn’t have a national cybersecurity doctrine that outlines what would happen to adversaries when they launch cyberattacks against the U.S.

Why it matters: The country's ability to fight back is limited without the overarching doctrine and authority laid out for government agencies. That's a problem given that the midterm elections are coming up, and intelligence leaders have said Russia is showing no signs of letting up on its hacking attempts.

What they're saying:

  • “When you lack a strategy or a doctrine, you don’t have the advantage of deterrence,” Republican Rep. Will Hurd, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, told Axios.
  • The concern, as independent Sen. Angus King put it during a recent hearing on election security, is that “the Russians sent in this whole operation in to our election system…and paid no price.”
  • “No one is saying ‘the buck stops here,’” said Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich.

The impact: The lack of clear lines of authority to respond to cyberattacks — and hacks of U.S. elections — was a big topic at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last month. Right now the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Department of Defense all play roles in defending the U.S. in cyberspace.

Here's how it breaks down:

  • The Department of Homeland Security protects civilian and critical infrastructure, which as of last year includes election infrastructure.
  • The FBI is the lead for investigating cybercrimes and disrupting those trying to commit them.
  • The Department of Defense and intelligence agencies play a role “predominantly when you start going overseas,” according to Robert Silvers, who served as Barack Obama's assistant secretary for cyber policy at DHS.
"I’m a very strong advocate of making it very clear who has the lead."
— Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

What the White House has done without actually issuing a doctrine: The Trump administration said it would roll out a cyber policy within 90 days after inauguration last year, but the action got delayed.

  • Trump did sign an executive order in May that suggested government agencies use private sector cybersecurity best practices, but it was not a doctrine. It also set off a series of cybersecurity assessments throughout the federal government.
  • A National Security Council official said there were no updates to provide on drafting a doctrine.

The questions a cybersecurity doctrine would have to resolve:

  • Should there be a "red line"? “In the digital world, we're going to see someone get very, very close to that red line" but not cross it, Hurd said. “You do want some strategic ambiguity” left in an ideal doctrine.
  • What should trigger a response? A big question, Hurd said, is whether the U.S. needs to find an individual responsible for a cyberattack, or whether it's enough just to determine that a government entity is responsible.
  • What should the response be? Determining what kinds of attacks deserve a digital response and which ones should provoke other responses — like sanctions, indictments, travel bans, or even a physical attack — brings a host of challenges to the conversation, Hurd said.

What to watch in the meantime: Tom Kellermann, the chief cybersecurity officer at the security company Carbon Black, told me he's worried there will be "a cyber reaction" by Russia in response to the latest sanctions imposed by the U.S.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

7 hours ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.