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Trump Dumps Cybersecurity Tsar Role

President Trump has shelved the role of cybersecurity co-ordinator in a move heavily criticized by industry experts and lawmakers as a retrograde step.

Reports first emerged last week that new national security advisor, John Bolton, was looking to jettison the role, which was created by President Obama to help harmonize cybersecurity policy at the upper echelons of government.

Now it appears the National Security Council (NSC) head has got his way, after the White House chose not to replace Trump’s first appointee to the role, Rob Joyce, whose departure was announced in April.

It came amidst a spate of departures from the NSC following Bolton’s appointment; Trump’s third in this crucial position after just a year in office.

NSC spokesman Robert Palladino claimed in a statement that two senior cybersecurity policy directors within the NSC would take over Joyce’s role.

“Today’s actions continue an effort to empower National Security Council senior directors. Streamlining management will improve efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and increase accountability,” he’s reported as adding.

Senior lawmakers were quick to hit back, among them Democrat Mark Warner, who is vice chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee.

“It’s frankly mindboggling that the Trump Administration has eliminated the top White House official responsible for a whole-of-government cyber strategy, at a time when the cyber threat to our nation is greater than ever,” he tweeted.

“Our adversaries are investing heavily in 21st century cyber-warfare capabilities, and if we only view national security through a conventional 20th century lens, we’re going to find ourselves unable to respond to increasingly asymmetric cyber threats down the road.”

Ross Rustici, senior director, intelligence services, at Cybereason, added that the decision to ditch the role would leave the White Hosue “flat-footed” during the next major cyber-event.

“In situations where minutes matter, the most prepared person in the room almost always carries the day. In a room full of decision makers with no cybersecurity background and a general who is in charge of fighting cyber-wars, it is a foregone conclusion as to whom will have the strongest voice in the room,” he argued.

“Every cyber-event will become a military issue with a military solution. Regardless of the efficacy of the position or those who occupied it, the fact that the position existed demonstrated a commitment to understanding, managing and responding to cyber-threats in a way that was on par with the other major global issues of the day.”

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