2 November 2017

Moving slowly, not breaking enough: Trump’s cybersecurity accomplishments

US President Donald Trump and the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem have ironically compatible views on subjects such as the roles of the private and public sectors; the value of audacious disruption; the importance of US supremacy in the global marketplace; and the need for domestic infrastructure improvements. At the beginning of Trump’s presidency, he and Silicon Valley might have found, through these points of convergence, some common ground on cybersecurity. That has not happened. The administration’s main initiative – an executive order not released until May 2017 – was a thoughtful interim measure, but it did little to address the immediate and urgent need to improve security, nor did it put forward a strong long-term vision for collaboration with the private sector. That is partly because cybersecurity issues have become politically precarious in the wake of a US presidential election compromised by digital attacks from Russia. Nevertheless, there remain opportunities for quick wins: The Trump administration can lead the way on setting new norms in nation-state cybersecurity behavior; investing in digital infrastructure; creating a larger and better trained cybersecurity workforce; and stimulating research and innovation. These relatively apolitical and potentially bipartisan initiatives could make an important difference at a time when the cybersecurity environment is visibly deteriorating. Read this free-access article in the November/December special issue of the digital Journal.