Back in January, President Donald Trump pledged to develop a plan to improve cybersecurity in the United States.
“I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office,” he wrote in a statement in early January, before his inauguration.
Based on that timeline, the plan would be released by Thursday of this week. But Thursday is over and we haven’t seen a plan.
The promise came the same day as a report from the US intelligence community saying Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered Russian agencies to hack US political organizations and run a propaganda campaign to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.
As Trump nears the 100 day mark of his presidency, political commentators are looking with particular interest at all the promises Trump has made for this period of time and whether he’ll be able to deliver on them.
The lack of a cybersecurity plan — or a cybersecurity executive order, which Trump also promised but has so far not produced — would add to a list of policy initiatives that are still works in progress in the Trump administration.
Bruce McConnell, global vice president of the East West Institute, focuses on reducing international conflict in cyberspace. He said the plan should be a high priority for the Trump administration.
“Cyberspace security is critical to maintaining a working economy and a peaceful world, so it needs to move up the list,” McConnell said.
Now that 90 days has officially come and gone, Politico reports that no plan seems to be forthcoming; in fact, no one person or group in the White House seems to be in charge of the effort. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the promised cybersecurity report.
A White House spokeswoman told Politico, “The president has appointed a diverse set of executives with both government and private sector expertise who currently are working to deliver an initial cybersecurity plan through a joint effort between the National Security Council and the Office of American Innovation.”
Both the White House National Security Council and Rudy Giuliani have special duties under the Trump administration to address cybersecurity.
The National Security Council’s cyber directorate is in charge of the executive order, which was scheduled to be signed January 31 but was withdrawn without explanation. Giuliani is tasked with creating partnerships with companies in the private sector to shore up the nation’s cyberdefenses.
CNET Magazine: Check out a sampling of the stories you’ll find in CNET’s newsstand edition.
Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.