By: Jonathan Doyle

What is the kernel of the issue?

The US Government is battling an increasingly aggressive set of adversaries in cyberspace. These adversaries do not view US Government systems as distinct from US commercial systems, where the US Government treats commercial and government systems as completely separate. There is a major gap between the US Government’s defensive posture against its own networks versus those of the commercial world. This has driven the cost of securing commercial networks, generally the cost of cyber technical resources much higher. Cyberspace is the ultimate divided house to exploit.

Why is the issue important?

The economic costs to clean up the Solar Winds hack of January 2021 could reach $100 billion. There is a new “Hafnium” Microsoft Exchange hack that could easily be as costly. Few see or want to discuss the economic costs of these adversarial government actions. Unchecked, these activities will continue and the costs will eliminate US advantages across a range of economic drivers, as well as economic dominance in cyberspace.

What is the recommendation?

The Biden administration should more actively intervene against nation states and nation state sponsored cyber operations. Commercial entities should not be left in the cold to fight adversarial nations on their own. The US needs to vastly increase the forces available to counter cyber adversaries, and, because human capital scarcity has made commercial prices for talent extremely high, the US needs to build mechanisms to pay near market rates for talent. The US should make a bold move to hire and train more than 100,000 cyber professionals in the next two years. At $200 Billion and counting, 2021’s first two month of losses would more than pay for this initiative.