WASHINGTON, D.C. — Responding to reports that President Joe Biden is altering the approval and execution process for the conduct of offensive cyber operations, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) is strongly advising the President to preserve the National Security Policy Memorandum-13 (NSPM-13) as is. NSPM 13 provides the Department of Defense (DOD) with speed and agility when planning and conducting time-sensitive offensive cyber operations, and these serve as an essential deterrent against adversaries like Russia.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown that the US and its allies must be prepared to meet our adversaries on the battlefield, including in cyberspace. Therefore, the President must preserve NSPM-13 to empower the US Cyber Command’s ability to proactively plan for and defend the nation’s critical infrastructure and networks against malicious cyber activity.
Rep. Gallagher said “The time-honored military principles of delegation and accountability have been well balanced in NSPM-13 and efforts by the Administration to pull back the delegation and provide additional oversight and interagency input in the midst of the execution phase risks undermining our national securityThis also flies in the face of every comment by our warfighters that adversary cyber operations are happening at an extraordinary speed that challenges our ability to defend ourselves. No one can seriously believe more speed bumps help.”
Other members of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission have also questioned the timing of this decision by the Administration.
“If it’s true that the State Department has been introduced back in this will be challenging for Cyber Command […] We won’t know that this was an overcorrection until we fail to execute an operation in a smooth and effective manner,” said former Commission Executive Director, Mark Montgomery.
Previously, Rep. Gallagher and Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Co-Chairs of the CSC 2.0, laid out the critical importance of NSPM-13 in a letter to President Biden.