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Chairman Royce Questions Witnesses on America's Cyber Defense Readiness

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Washington, June 16, 2015 | Saat Alety (202-225-4111) | comments

U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, questioned witnesses on our nation's readiness to defend against foreign cyber-attacks at today's House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing entitled “A Global Perspective on Cyber Threats."

Rep. Royce began his time by posing a “short but complicated question," asking the witnesses, "What constitutes an act of war in cyberspace?"

"If it does affect our national and economic security, and it's driven by a nation state actor, Article 5 could be triggered. For example in a NATO context, if Russia engaged in a computer network attack against Lithuania, that doesn't have to be a military attack, it can also be on civilian infrastructures," responded Mr. Frank J. Cilluffo, director of The George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.

"Who in the Administration decides what is an act of cyberwar, or cyberterrorism, or cyber vandalism as the President called that Sony act... who makes that decision in terms of differentiating how we designate one of these assaults?" continued Rep. Royce.

"From what I've seen, it's the President's call," answered Mr. Richard Bejtlich, Chief Security Strategist at FireEye, Inc.

"Are we at that point where we need to consider this in terms of our national security in the same way during WWII that it dawned on us that we needed a separate branch of the service, the Air Force, in order to handle a new mode of warfare?" concluded Rep. Royce.

"It really is about delineating the Title 10 activity within our armed services community. I think some of the intelligence activity trumps some of the Title 10 activity. I see CyberCom being firstly a full combat-and-command, not part of strategic command, and also more in a Title 10 hat than a Title 50 hat coupled with NSA."

Click here or on the image below to watch the exchange:

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