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With over 75% of recommendations on track to implementation, leaders share thoughts on state of play

Press Release

Washington, D.C. (August 12, 2021) - U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), co-chairs of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), today announced the release of the Commission’s 2021 Annual Report on Implementation. Their assessment reviews the implementation status of each recommendation and evaluates the Commission’s strategic approach of layered cyber deterrence. Building on these observations, the report scans the horizon ahead to asses threats to further progress and outlines the next steps required to advance national cybersecurity.

Of the 82 recommendations in the Commission’s March 2020 report, more than three-quarters are implemented, nearing implementation, or on track to be implemented. Many recommendations from the Commission’s subsequent white papers are also moving towards implementation. Given Co-Chair King’s mantra that “execution is just as important as vision,” the report notes the important work ahead required to strengthen America’s cyber posture, even in cases where recommendations are fully implemented. The progress is also a reflection of the diligent work done in the House and Senate homeland security and armed services committees, and by the executive branch’s cyber leadership both at the White House and in federal agencies.

CSC co-chairs Senator Angus King (I-ME) and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) said in the executive summary of the report, “This report draws a map connecting our current reality in cyberspace to a future when Americans can rely on the digital infrastructure that surrounds us. Implementation of the Commission’s recommendations is only the very first step toward a connected world we can trust.”

“Over the past year, this commission has helped the country take considerable steps to strengthen its cyber defenses. But as recent cyberattacks have made clear, our work is not yet done,” said CSC Co-Chair Representative Mike Gallagher. “This report outlines our progress and the steps we still need to take to ensure Americans’ lives and livelihoods are better protected online.”

"We have been in the fortunate position to connect good ideas, legislation, and implementation over the past several months. Across the public and private sectors, in federal departments and agencies, and especially among our colleagues here on the Hill, we are deeply grateful to all the leaders in cybersecurity who rolled up their sleeves and turned ideas into action this past year,” said CSC Co-Chair Senator Angus King. He added, “But protecting national cybersecurity is not a path with an endpoint, but a posture to carefully construct and maintain. Today at the halfway point, we are asking everyone to keep going strong as we work together to make cyberspace safer for Americans.”

The Commission’s report offers four considerations in evaluating the past year’s progress on implementation:

  1. Measuring Impact and Promoting Future Success - The report makes a clear distinction between the implementation of recommendations, the impact of those recommendations, and concrete, lasting success in securing cyberspace. With that in mind, the assessment outlines the steps needed to ensure that changes have momentum to promote future success.

  2. Identification of Threats, Opportunities, and Priorities - The annual report evaluates the basic assumptions that informed the Commission’s original report and subsequent white papers, noting how unfolding events have shaped the direction and progress of CSC’s work.

  3. Evaluating the Implementation of the Layered Cyber Deterrence- While more time and clearer metrics are needed to truly determine the success of layered cyber deterrence—CSC’s strategic approach to defending the U.S. in cyberspace—the approach provided a useful lens to evaluate the development and implementation of recommendations.

  4. Implementation of CSC Recommendations - The report documents progress and identifies future steps required to implement each CSC recommendation. The primary indicators of progress considered in evaluating the status of implementation are authorizing legislation, appropriations, executive actions, but many other factors also contributed to this determination.

The Commission’s 2021 Annual Report on Implementation can be found here.