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March 04, 2021

DOD Nominee Lauds King Leadership on Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Agrees on Need for Deterrence

Senator King also cites climate change as a national security risk, emphasizes the need to prioritize environmental efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), emphasized the need for a policy of cyberdeterrance and strengthening international alliances to provide a multilateral response as an effective strategy to prevent foreign adversaries from attacking the United States’ critical infrastructure and cybernetworks. Today’s hearing was held to consider the nomination of Dr. Colin Kahl, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Under Secretary Of Defense for Policy.

During one exchange with the nominee, Senator King’s work as co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission was supported by Dr. Kahl, who echoed his stance, saying “we have to have the cyber equivalent of that that includes actions in cyberspace but also elsewhere – sanctions, diplomatic isolation, things like that.”  Later in the question period, Senator King stressed that the discussion of climate change also involves a significant national security component, by saying he viewed the issue “as a serious national security threat, effective on our operations, but also, to me the long-range challenge is migration and the stimulation of mass migration because of climate change particularly in the equatorial band.”  Dr. Kahl agreed with Senator King’s views on this matter, and pledged a commitment to action.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Senator King is recognized as one of Congress’s leading experts on cyberdefense and a strong advocate for a forward-thinking cyberstrategy that emphasizes layered cyberdeterrence. He voted in favor of the Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, which includes 25 bipartisan cybersecurity recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. The legislation became law earlier this year after Senator King and the overwhelming majority of his colleagues voted to override President Trump’s veto.

The CSC was established by statute in the 2019 NDAA, officially launched in April 2019, and will continue to execute its statutory mission through December 2021. The Commissioners convened nearly every Monday that Congress was in session for a year, and its staff conducted more than 400 engagements, drawing upon the expertise of corporate leaders, federal, state and local officials, academics, and cybersecurity experts. The meetings and the ensuing report sought to strengthen America’s posture in cyberspace and identify opportunities to improve our national preparedness to defend ourselves against cyberattacks.

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