United States: The New Cybersecurity Executive Order: What It Does And When

Last Updated: May 19 2017
Article by Aaron Lang

"Will the President sign it?" I asked in a recent post. As if in direct answer, the President issued the order the same day, May 11, 2017. The order is titled Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure, and it appears to be identical to the recently leaked draft.

The order commissions a slew of reports from federal agencies. Below is a list of those reports, including their due dates. The list proceeds in three parts, mirroring the order's three main sections: Cybersecurity of Federal Networks, Cybersecurity of Critical Infrastructure, and Cybersecurity for the Nation.

Cybersecurity of Federal Networks

  • Risk Management Reports: Each agency head must give a risk management report to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of OMB within 90 days of the date of the order.
    • The reports must document the risk mitigation and acceptance choices made by each agency head, including the strategic, operational, and budgetary considerations that informed those choices, and any accepted risk, including from unmitigated vulnerabilities. They must also describe how the agencies plan to implement The Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure and Cybersecurity.
  • Evaluation of the Risk Management Reports: OMB and DHS, with the support of the Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator of General Services, must evaluate agencies' risk management reports within 60 days of receiving them, and then report to the President.
    • The report must include a determination as to whether the agencies' risk mitigation and acceptance choices are "appropriate and sufficient to manage the cybersecurity risk to the executive branch." It must also include a plan to address any deficiencies noted in the risk management reports.
  • Report on Federal IT Architecture: The Director of the American Technology Council, along with DHS, OMB, the Administrator of General Services, and the Secretary of Commerce, must report on the "modernization of Federal IT" within 90 days of the date of the order.
    • The report must describe the "technical feasibility and cost effectiveness" of transitioning agencies to consolidated network architectures and shared IT services, including "email cloud, and cybersecurity services."

Cybersecurity of Critical Infrastructure

  • Report on Critical Infrastructure at Greatest Risk: The Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Defense, the AG, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the FBI must identify "authorities and capabilities that agencies could employ to support cybersecurity efforts of critical infrastructure entities," and report to the President on their findings within 180 days of the date of this order.
  • Report on Transparency in the Marketplace: The Secretaries of Homeland Security and Commerce must report to the President on existing federal policies and practices to promote market transparency of cybersecurity risk management practices by critical infrastructure entities. The report is due within 90 days of the date of the order.
  • Report on Resilience Against Botnets and Other Automated Distributed Threats: The Secretaries of Homeland Security and Commerce must "identify and promote action[s]" to reduce the threat posed by automated and distributed attacks. A preliminary report must be made publicly available within 240 days of the date of the order. A final version is due to the President within one year.
  • Assessment of Electricity Disruption Incident Response Capabilities: The Secretaries of Energy and Homeland Security must jointly assess the threat of a cyber-attack on the nation's electrical grids, and our capacity to respond to such an attack. The assessment is due to the President within 90 days of the date of the order.
  • Report on Department of Defense Warfighting Capabilities: Also due within 90 days is a report on cybersecurity risks to the nation's military supply chain, systems, and networks. The Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, the FBI Director, and the Director of National Intelligence are responsible for this report.

Cybersecurity for the Nation

  • Report on Deterrence of and Protection Against Cyber Threats to the American People: The Secretaries of State, the Treasury, Defense, Commerce, and Homeland Security, along with the AG and the U.S. Trade Representative, must report to the President on the strategic options for "deterring cyber adversaries and better protecting the American people from cyber threats." The report is due within 90 days of the date of the order.
  • Report on International Cybersecurity Priorities: The Secretaries of State, the Treasury, Defense, Commerce, and Homeland Security, in coordination with other officials, must report to the President on "their international cybersecurity priorities, including those concerning the investigation, attribution, cyber threat information sharing, response, capacity, and cooperation." This report is due within 45 days.
    • A second report, due within 90 days, of the submission of the international cooperation report must provide "an engagement strategy for international cooperation in cybersecurity."
  • Workforce Development Reports:
    • Assessment of Education and Training of American Cybersecurity Workforce of the Future: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Defense, Labor, Education, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management must collaborate on this report on the state of "cyber-security related education curricula, training, and apprenticeship programs, from primary through higher education." Within 120 days, a report must be given to the President on how to grow and sustain the Nation's cybersecurity workforce.
    • Review of "Workforce Development Efforts of Potential Foreign Cyber Peers": The Director of National Intelligence is in charge of reviewing the cybersecurity workforce development practices of foreign nations and identifying those that are "likely to affect the . . . United State[s'] cybersecurity competitiveness." This order is due within 60 days.
    • Assessment of Scope and Sufficiency of U.S. Efforts to Maintain or Increase Its Advantage in "National-Security-Related Cyber Capabilities": This assessment will be a joint effort of the Secretaries of Defense, Commerce, Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence. It is due to the President in 150 days.

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