State Department to Form Cyber Bureau

The United States is planning to create a new government department that will deal with matters of digital policy and cybersecurity. 

On Monday, Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced plans for the State Department to launch a Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, in an email to the department's workforce. 

In the email, Blinken reportedly stated: "This structure will provide us with greater leadership and accountability to drive the diplomatic agenda with the interagency and abroad and build on the extraordinary work that is already taking place across the Department."

In addition to the bureau, the Biden administration reportedly plans to create the new position of cyber envoy that will be focused on critical and emerging technology.

In a briefing held yesterday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: "Pending consultations with Congress, we plan to establish a Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, led by a Senate-confirmed ambassador-at-large, which will focus on three key areas: international cyberspace security, international digital policy, and digital freedom."

Price added that the creation of the bureau will "integrate the core security, economic, and values components" of the Biden administration's cyber agenda. 

"We also plan to establish a new special envoy for critical and emerging technology to lead the immediate technology diplomacy agenda with our allies, partners, and across the range of multilateral fora," said Price.

A journalist at the briefing asked Price, "Didn’t the previous administration try to set up the same kind of thing, and you guys put the kibosh on it?"

Price replied: "So what the previous administration set up – what they proposed, I should say – was to create a bureau that would be responsible for the national security aspects of cyberspace security and security-related aspects of emerging technology. 

"The Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technology Bureau would have been placed under the undersecretary for arms control and international security. So, this is a very different structure."

The journalist responded that "it sounds almost exactly the same to me, except that instead of reporting to the undersecretary this one is going to report to the deputy secretary."

A formal announcement regarding the creation of the bureau and the envoy role is expected to be made on Wednesday by Secretary Blinken.

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