Gilman Louie: Cybersecurity: Time for Action

Gilman Louie on what this current administration must address in order to meet the growing cyber challenges of the 21st century. This article was originally published on The Cipher Brief

U.S. failure to fully develop and implement a comprehensive cyber security strategy created the perfect opportunity for Russia to attack the Democratic National Committee computer network, and enabled them to meddle and interfere with the U.S. presidential election.

Years of bickering by federal agencies – over which agency was in charge, who had which jurisdictions, who was going to pay, what information could be shared, what should be the role of the private sector, privacy and liability concerns, and who should be accountable – has left the United States with numerous cyber vulnerabilities, so that any country, non-state actor, or trained individual with reasonable skills can attack this country with little to no consequence.

Our country has failed to take the necessary actions to protect and secure its digital infrastructure and assets. Over 80 percent of U.S. businesses are hacked every year; some of our most valuable military technologies, data, and intellectual property have been stolen; and 21.5 million personnel records, including numerous caches of security clearance information, have been hacked. This is not the result of technology failing, but of failed policies and leadership.

These failures have created a window for emboldened hackers.  Countries, as well as non-state actors, no longer attempt to cover their tracks. The lack of sufficient consequences, combined with increasing profitability, has made attacks on high value targets in the United States something to brag about.

While there have been numerous cyber commissions, working groups, task forces, studies, and plans – such as the Cybersecurity National Action Plan of 2016, Commission on Enhancing National Security, Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, National Cyber Incident Response Plan, and National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace – as well as thousands of recommendations over the past 15 years, our country is more vulnerable today to cyber attacks, espionage, influence, ransom, and theft than it was 15 years ago.

This month, the Center for Strategic and International Studies Cyber Policy Task Force released a cybersecurity agenda for the 45th president This task force grew out of years of frustration over the lack of an effective national effort to protect cyberspace, and the growing concerns around cyber risks and vulnerabilities. Comprised of the leading cybersecurity experts from industry, academia, and government, the task force’s goal is to help the Administration establish a robust and effective plan that will create a secure and stable digital environment that supports continued economic growth while protecting personal freedoms and national security.

The task force laid out five vital recommendations Continue reading "Gilman Louie: Cybersecurity: Time for Action"

Gilman Louie: The Art of the Deal – with China

Gilman Louie and Joseph DeTrani address how the new administration can navigate the U.S. – China relationship. This article was originally published on The Cipher Brief.

President Trump said he wants to improve relations with China, but he has expressed concern with China’s theft of intellectual property, unfair taxes for U.S. companies in China, currency manipulation, product dumping and failing to reign in North Korea.  He took a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan and questioned the “One China Policy.”  Many of his appointees have strong and divergent views on the issue.

Although the economies of the U.S. and China are mutually dependent, the possibility of a trade war cannot be dismissed.  Politically, tension in the South China Sea could purposely or accidentally devolve into military conflict.  Both scenarios can and should be avoided.

President Trump is an accomplished negotiator and in his book, The Art of the Deal, he describes several negotiating tactics that could be key to resetting U.S.-China relations. Here are a few we think are particularly applicable:

Think Big – Design a plan that benefits both the U.S. and China.  The U.S. has to modernize its manufacturing sector, return jobs lost to offshoring, incentivize U.S. companies to repatriate capital and invest that capital into infrastructure and manufacturing capacity – as well as open the Chinese market to U.S. goods, especially services.

While China has done well in some areas of consumer and manufacturing innovation, it needs to increase its innovation in all areas of its economy.  China graduates more PhDs in science and engineering, leads the world in patent applications and spends more in R&D than any other country outside of the U.S.  However, its level of creative innovation does not translate relative to their investments.  China must transform itself from the center of low cost manufacturing to a center of high quality innovation. The U.S. can help China to ”rebalance” from an export-driven economy to a domestic consumption economy.

The export growth that fueled China’s economic expansion is slowing, while industrial and manufacturing jobs have declined from a peak of 30.3% in 2012 to 29.3% in 2015.  Chinese exports fell by 2.8% in 2015, due to weaker global demand. GDP growth in 2015 and 2016 was below 7%, the weakest economic growth since 1990. Industrial production has been on the decline for the past six years.  Demand for production from State Owned Enterprises (SOE) has been close to zero while overseas demand for Chinese exports has been on the decline for the past two years.  The only strong Continue reading "Gilman Louie: The Art of the Deal – with China"

Gilman Louie: An Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense Nominee

This article was originally published on The Cipher Brief: President-elect Donald Trump recently announced he will nominate retired United States Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis for Secretary of Defense. Gilman Louie, founder and former CEO of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, has written an open letter to General Mattis to suggest how the Defense Department can improve its digital capabilities in order to maintain its military edge.

Dear General Mattis,

Congratulations on your nomination as the new Secretary of Defense.  As you already know, you will be inheriting the most powerful military in the world. As a warfighter, you already understand the current challenges facing the Department of Defense.  Technology, geopolitics, asymmetric threats, terrorism, a rising China, and an emboldened Russia are all forces that must galvanize transformation within the Department.  While there are many initiatives within the Department aimed at creating new capabilities and countering new threats, I want to emphasize a particular capability that we’ll need in order to maintain our military edge.

The world has gone digital and so must the military. Digital dominance must become the goal for this Department, and this goes beyond just cyber security. Our ability to sense, share, integrate, coordinate, and act will depend on maintaining digital superiority over our adversaries.

Digital dominance means finding ways to collect, transform, and process more efficiently than our adversaries. It means we must strive to rule and shape the digital domain while limiting or denying access from opposing forces.

Our current military is highly dependent on its ability to have access and control of the digital domain.   Software drives our military systems and platforms.  Our navigation and high-precision weapons delivery systems are largely dependent on GPS.  Our ability to disseminate, share, and communicate on air superiority platforms like the F-22 and F-35 require that we have tactical digital links like Link 16.  The digital sensors and weapon systems that protect our ships and detect our threats require real-time digital sensing and processing that give our Navy the situational awareness to operate on the open seas.

Our ability to protect our data and information is also critical.  Cyber security breaches within the Office of Personnel Management, the theft of our weapon system designs, the disclosure of our electronic collection capabilities, and the publishing of our State Department communications have all significantly eroded our country’s defense capabilities, disclosed our sources and methods, and put our personnel at risk.

In the near future, we could find ourselves in an artificial intelligence (AI) arms race with China and Russia.  AI enables autonomy, and that technology will drive future weapons and sensor platforms. Whoever possesses the superior Continue reading "Gilman Louie: An Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense Nominee"

Gilman Louie: An Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense Nominee

This article was originally published on The Cipher Brief: President-elect Donald Trump recently announced he will nominate retired United States Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis for Secretary of Defense. Gilman Louie, founder and former CEO of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, has written an open letter to General Mattis to suggest how the Defense Department can improve its digital capabilities in order to maintain its military edge. Continue reading "Gilman Louie: An Open Letter to the Secretary of Defense Nominee"