History Repeats Itself: The 60-Day Cyberspace Policy Review in Context

On February 9, 2009, President Obama gave his National Security and Homeland Security Advisors 60 days to conduct a Cyberspace Policy Review.1 The stated purpose of this “60-Day Review” was to provide a comprehensive assessment of U.S. policies for cybersecurity.2 According to a White House press release, the review would “develop a strategic framework to ensure that U.S. Government cyber security initiatives are appropriately integrated, resourced and coordinated with Congress and the private sector.”3

The 60-Day Review was an ambitious project and, in the end, took more than 60 days to complete.4 When the final report was issued on May 29, 2009, it offered a careful assessment of the current situation and a broad vision of what the United States must accomplish to secure our digital future. This vision, however, was not fundamentally different from previous iterations of cybersecurity strategy that the U.S. government has issued over the past 12 years.

The 60-Day Review undoubtedly represents a critical step toward addressing the many challenges the United States faces in working to secure its public and private information systems. However, it is important to place this document in proper context and understand what it accomplishes and what business it leaves unfinished. Before much progress can be made in improving cybersecurity, there are some tough policy decisions that have to be made.

The 60-Day Review does not take on many of those decisions. Rather, it provides an accurate and troubling picture of what the country is up against. It offers a glimpse of the daunting but important tasks of trying to harmonize the cybersecurity programs within government, establishing an effective partnership with the private sector, and developing strong relationships with other nations to combat cyber crime. It recommends…


Lead Author

Eric A. Greenwald
Eric Greenwald is chief counsel to Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, who chairs the Select Intelligence Committee. The University of Michigan Law School graduate worked on the Kerry-Edwards campaign. He was an associate producer of 60 Minutes, where he filed broadcast reports with Morley Safer from Iran in 2003 and with Lesley Stahl from Iraq in 2001. Greenwald was also a freelance producer at NPR. He served as an attorney adviser at the Central Intelligence Agency and worked for Steptoe & Johnson as an associate in the law firm's technology department. His first job in Washington was with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. On weekends, Greenwald has been playing street hockey in front of the White House since 1996. He also rock-climbs and leads outdoor leadership expeditions.
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