Heading into 2024, the Cyber Defense Assistance Collaborative (CDAC) is demonstrating support for the establishment of cyberspace funds and new authorities granted to the State Department under S.2043–a part of the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. Greg Rattray, Executive Director of CDAC, represents the organization and partner companies’ support in the following letter.
To promote international policies of digital resilience, integrity, and freedom, the undersigned Cyber Defense Assistance Collaborative—a CRDF Global initiative comprised of technology and cybersecurity companies, nonprofit organizations, and associations—write in support of a thoughtful and robust program of foreign assistance to enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure and governments of foreign partner nations critical to U.S. national interests.
As evidenced by the cyber element of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, cyber threats anticipated in the current Israel-Hamas conflict, and continuing tensions in the South China Sea, the U.S. and our allies are faced with long-term persistent cyberattacks conducted by nation state actors. In many cases, our allies will face great challenges standing up to these attacks on their own. The U.S. and our allies must work together not only to thwart future attacks and mitigate damages but also to help partners become self-reliant contributors to international stability in the digital realm.
In response to the evolving cyber threat landscape around the globe, Pillar 5 of the National Cybersecurity Strategy calls on the U.S. government to “forge international partnerships to pursue shared goals,” and tactically, under Objective 5.2, “to strengthen international partner capacity.”
As part of those efforts, we recognize the important foundational work of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Cybersecurity and Digital Policy to create flexible and effective mechanisms to deliver targeted assistance where it will have the greatest positive impact. We also applaud the efforts of the U.S. Congress and its intent prescribed in legislation, Senate bill 2043, the Department of State Authorization Act of 2023, to establish a Cyberspace, Digital Connectivity, and Related Technologies Fund. The creation of a permanent cyber defense assistance mechanism is an important first step in fully bearing the cybersecurity capabilities of the U.S. and our allies to better protect our most important assets and democratic values.
Many members of the Cyber Defense Assistance Collaborative have engaged tirelessly with the State and Defense Departments and other relevant parts of the U.S. government during our core work, including most recently, voluntary efforts made in support of Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion in 2022. We seek to continue to provide input to shape the structures and mechanisms to help the U.S. government provide cyber defense assistance at speed and scale during geopolitical events. Additionally, we appreciate the opportunity to share and apply our lessons learned and best practices to enhance and create pathways for private sector expertise to also be applied in a timely, effective, and sustainable manner.
Thus, we support the establishment of the cyberspace fund and the new authorities that would be granted to the State Department under S. 2043—a part of the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act—and look forward to continued dialogue on how best to enhance U.S. cybersecurity through strategic assistance and collaboration with partner nations.
Greg Rattray, Executive Director