Will the Debt Deal Hurt National Cyber Security Efforts?

Sue Marquette Poremba

If you've paid attention to the news the past few days, you are probably like me and are waiting to hear exactly what will be affected by these budget cuts.

Chances are, cyber security is going to be an indirect victim of the new debt deal. According to an article at NextGov.com, IT security people are concerned that cyber security is one of those expenditures that will see a hit. Agencies receiving budget cuts won't have the dollars to spend on hiring cyber security personnel or investing in cyber security tools. And it doesn't look likely that the private sector will pick up the slack.


James A. Lewis, a cyber security specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was quoted in the NextGov.com article:

The main problem is that the call to shrink government and rely on the private sector and markets to address public problems guarantees weak cybersecurity.

In the same article, Tom Kellerman, a former World Bank cyber security official, added:

We don't have enough people manning the walls. We don't have the technologies that we identified three years ago that we need because people are waiting on their budgets.

It's not like Congress doesn't understand that this potential hole in cyber security is a serious concern. A Reuters article during the heat of the debt-ceiling debate reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was urging the Senate to resume talks on a massive cyber security bill and the Republicans agreed. That's a step in the right direction (and considering the current climate in Washington, hearing that the two parties agreed on anything is a reason to cheer).


Many people have come out and said no one is truly happy with the results of the debt deal. I don't know. Cyber criminals probably are already seeing how it benefits them.

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