More than a year after the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator position was eliminated, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., is urging the Trump administration to reestablish the role, according to a statement released Sept. 18. The recent push comes as President Trump named Robert O’Brien as his new National Security Advisor, following the resignation of John Bolton.
Thompson, who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement “[O’Brien’s] first act as National Security Advisor must be to bring back the position of White House Cybersecurity Coordinator.”
Bolton claimed he was eliminating the White House Cybersecurity Coordination position – which is typically seen as the most senior cybersecurity role in the Federal government – in order to “streamline authority” for the senior directors who lead most National Security Council teams. However, when he eliminated the position in May of 2018, congressional Democrats immediately protested the move as dangerous to national security.
“The decision to eliminate the top White House cyber policy role is outrageous, especially given that we’re facing more hostile threats from foreign adversaries than ever before,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said in a statement when the position was eliminated.
Thompson echoed those concerns in his statement this week. “Despite concerns raised when the position was eliminated last year, the White House has done little to address the vacuum left behind,” he said. “With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated and growing by the day, including the persistent threat to our election systems, there is no reason that the White House should have allowed this position to be eliminated.”