As per the announcement made by the National Security Agency on Tuesday, it is introducing a new Cybersecurity Directorate, which will "unify NSA’s foreign intelligence and cyber defense missions and is charged with preventing and eradicating threats to National Security Systems and the Defense Industrial Base."
The new directorate — which will become operational on October 1 — is to be headed up by Anne Neuberger, who has been leading the NSA’s Russia Small Group.
NSA Director and Cyber Command chief Gen. Paul Nakasone publicly announced the directorate’s formation at a conference at Fordham University.
Neuberger led the NSA’s election security efforts for the 2018 midterms, having served as the NSA’s first chief risk officer. She said, “the Cybersecurity Directorate "will more actively use signals intelligence gleaned from expanded operations against adversaries."
"This new approach to cybersecurity will better position NSA to collaborate with key partners across the US government like US Cyber Command, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will also enable us to better share information with our customers so they are equipped to defend against malicious cyber activity," according to the NSA.
This comes amid a debate over how aggressive offensive US cyber operations should be in response to foreign attacks and questions about the legal framework for carrying out those actions.
Last week, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley stressed the importance of cyber defense, noting that cyberthreats are what keeps him up at night.
"The internet of things creates a degree of vulnerability in all the things that are hooked into that. And so cyberdefense is absolutely critical…whether it’s in the military realm, whether it’s infrastructure, power grids, banking, the cybernet of things — the internet of things — can reach into all kinds of areas," he said.