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Bolton's Push to Cut Security Post Not Sound

In the aftermath of President Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, there has been much anticipation of retaliatory cyber-attacks against the US.

With the paramount goal of preparing to defend against potential threats, the news that national security adviser, John Bolton, aims to eliminate the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator has confounded industry leaders. 

"The possible changes come as a surprise as Bolton has been considered a supporter of a more vigorous cybersecurity strategy that targets enemies of the U.S.," Fox News reported 10 May. 

Many security experts have expressed concerns over the potential elimination of the cybersecurity coordinator position that was created by former President Obama in 2009 and is currently held by Rob Joyce.

David Ginsburg, Vice President of Marketing at Cavirin, said, “Initial reporting doesn’t mention that the US has just elevated this to a major command, recognizing the severity and potential impact of cyber-warfare and the need to protect the overall cyber-posture of the US." 

"Without clear cooperation and transparency this will continue to grow as a major problem with a possibility of a full cyber-war as retaliation and with no expert in the White House to see through the fog of threats then this could result in a major disaster," said Joseph Carson, chief security scientist at Thycotic.

Because cybersecurity must be a high priority at all levels, not having a dedicated person focused on the cybersecurity strategy could cause different challenges. "It will send a wrong message to other nations and malicious actors. Anytime you put dedicated focus and a dedicated person with responsibility on any task [it] gets done better and faster," said Rishi Bhargava, co-founder at Demisto.

For a wide variety of reasons, leaders across all sectors in the industry are echoing the sentiment that such a cut is not a good idea.

"Cybersecurity leadership positions are critical at high-risk environments both tactically and strategically," said Larry D. Johnson, CEO, CyberSponse Inc. "Only a select few truly know what actions need to be made when an organization is under attack. Good leadership is not only essential, but there needs to be decision makers who understand cybersecurity top to bottom."

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