The State Department on Thursday announced its vision for U.S. cyberspace policy based on articulated deterrents to criminal cyberattacks, protection of an open Internet, and international engagement and collaboration to achieve those goals, according to the summaries of two reports to President Trump authorized by the Cyber Executive Order (EO) of May 2017. […]

It’s probably not a shocking revelation to learn that Federal IT managers are less than happy with their agency’s IT infrastructure. Their biggest gripes, according to a recent MeriTalk survey are that it’s 1) expensive, 2) difficult to manage, and 3) inefficient. Small wonder then that the same survey found that nearly all of those who participated—92 percent of 150 Federal IT managers—were frustrated with the state of their infrastructure.  






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A new report from the Departments of Commerce (DoC) and Homeland Security (DHS) suggests that the proliferation of botnets and the automated, distributed cyber attacks they generate will cause greater problems for Federal agencies absent a robust government response to the problem that includes a proper mix of funding, policies, and public-private collaboration.






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Federal agencies might not meet the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) data center closure goals, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Based on current projections, only 7,221 of the 12,062 data centers that agencies reported in August 2017 will be closed by September of this year.






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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke frankly about the need IT modernization in the State Department last week, both referencing his personal experiences with the department’s servers and tying it into a larger need for reorganization in the department, but failing to lay out any concrete plan for the changes.






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Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Cyber Diplomacy Act, clearing the path for a new cyber ambassador. If signed into law, the act would establish an Office of Cyber Issues within the State Department and give the office’s head the status and rank of an ambassador.






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Agencies are looking at ways to secure the edge of their systems in order to support a more mobile workforce. “The edge is where the mission happens,” said Max Everett, CIO of the Department of Energy. “We’re in the midst of a transformation. It’s modernization with a plan.”






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Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan invited 48 international women leaders in the STEM field to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program, and attend the Hidden No More event in Washington, D.C. “We know that we have more to do to remove barriers to women in STEM,” Sullivan said. “Our fundamental belief is that when women do better, families do better, countries do better, and the world does better.”






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The Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs hosted its second Zoohackathon event to drive the creation of technological solutions to combat wildlife trafficking. Coders, technologists, and university students came together Sept. 22-24 at the San Diego Safari Park  to brainstorm, design, and develop solutions to impede wildlife trafficking.






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The State Department is seeking to use blockchain technology to improve its IT platforms and to restructure the agency. The reorganization plan seeks to reduce the workforce, save Federal money, and maximize employee productivity.






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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Oct. 6 that the Federal government needs to classify cyberattacks on the United States as acts of war. Clinton referred to the Russian hacks on the Democratic National Committee as a reason for the U.S. to retaliate against such breaches.






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The State Department’s plan to fold the cyber office and position of cybersecurity coordinator into the bureau of business and economic affairs is just the beginning of a plan to elevate cybersecurity concerns within the department, according to Department of State Deputy Secretary John Sullivan.






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The State Department led a STEAM camp in Malawi in August to enhance high school girls’ skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. The State Department began the WiSci or Women in Science STEAM Camp in Rwanda in 2015 following the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. This year’s program was the third iteration of the WiSci camps.






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Christopher Painter made the case for cyber diplomacy after stepping down as cyber coordinator for the State Department in July. Painter wrote a blog post saying that cyber issues continue to grow, which increases the need for global discussions on cybersecurity. Yet Politico reported that the State Department is considering getting rid of its cybersecurity department.






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The State Department’s cyber coordinator will be stepping down at the end of this month, according to reports from Politico. Chris Painter has been creating a strategic framework for cybersecurity during peacetime and gaining support from other countries.






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