[ISN] US Still Doesn’t Know Who’s In Charge of What If Massive Cyber Attack Strikes Nation

www.defenseone.com/threats/2015/11/us-still-doesnt-know-whos-charge-if-massive-cyber-attack-strikes-nation/123377/ BY PATRICK TUCKER Defense One NOVEMBER 3, 2015 The threat of a massive cyber attack on civilian infrastructure, leading to loss of life and perhaps billions in damages, has kept lawmakers on edge since before former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of it back in 2012 (or the fourth Die Hard movie in 2007). Many experts believe that a sneak attack would be highly unlikely. The Department of Homeland Security has the lead in responding to most cyber attacks. But if one were to occur today, DHS and the Defense Department wouldn’t know all the details of who is in charge of what. The Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, published in April, carves out a clear role for the military and Cyber Command in responding to any sort of cyber attack of “significant consequence,” supporting DHS. Specifically, the strategy tasks the 13 different National Mission Force teams, cyber teams set up to defend the the United States and its interests from attacks of significant consequence, with carrying out exercises with other agencies and setting up emergency procedures. It’s the third strategic goal in the strategy. It’s also “probably the one that’s the least developed at this – at this point,” Lt. Gen. James K. McLaughlin, the deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command, said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event last month. He went on to describe the role that the military would play in such an event as “building the quick reaction forces and the capacity to defend the broader United States against an attack.” It’s something that the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and other agency partners all train for together in events like the Cyber Guard exercises, the most recent of which took place in July. The Defense Department, DHS and others worked through a series of scenarios related to a major attack on infrastructure. […]