Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is proposing combining two separate cyber security offices at the State Department into a single group that will focus on a range of cyber-related issues. The Office of the Cybersecurity Coordinator and the Bureau of Economic Affairs’ Office of International Communications and Information Policy, would be combined into the Bureau for Cyberspace and the Digital Economy, under the proposal.
“The combination of these offices in a new Bureau for Cyberspace and the Digital Economy will align existing resources under a single Department of State official to formulate and coordinate a strategic approach necessary to address current and emerging cyber security and digital economic challenges,” Secretary of State Tillerson wrote to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) today.
Members of both parties on Capitol Hill had criticized Tillerson heavily last year for bringing the Office of Cybersecurity Coordinator under the umbrella of another economic-focused office as part of his reorganization efforts at the Department.
In response to that move, Royce introduced a bill in Congress called the Cyber Diplomacy Act, that looked to restore an office at the State Department dedicated solely to cyber security and diplomacy efforts. Royce welcomed Tillerson’s move today, but continued to push for the Cyber Diplomacy Act to be passed. The act would also elevate the official heading such an office to the rank of ambassador.
“Cyberspace is vital to America’s national security, and to our economy. That’s why I have long called for the State Department to have a high-ranking diplomat who can confront the full range of challenges we face online,” Royce said.