US Cyber Policy 2023: Countering Russia and China

by Tayyaba Khurshid
Digital technologies have become an essential component of state governance, as governments have progressively embraced digitization across all aspects of their machinery, including but not limited to economics, healthcare, education, business, and commerce. However, one must also be cognizant that being a denizen of cyberspace exposes individuals to an array of potential cyber threats. Consequently, nation-states have formulated a plethora of policies aimed at safeguarding their cyber domain, while simultaneously implementing precautionary measures to thwart potential cyber aggression from adversarial entities. Notably, the current state of the digital ecosystem is marked by its complexity, precipitated by the pervasive lack of cyber security infrastructure, and the upsurge of diverse and sophisticated cyber threats. Cyber security has emerged as an indispensable prerequisite for achieving sustained economic growth, ensuring data privacy and confidentiality, and bolstering national defense capabilities. To this end, the United States has proactively taken measures to secure its cyberspace, through close collaboration with its allies and partners, to address a range of pertinent cyber security concerns and craft effective policies to mitigate such threats. The Biden administration has put forth an integrated deterrence strategy, which encompasses a novel cyber security policy aimed at fostering robust partnerships and collaborations with allies to ensure the security of cyberspace. The overarching objective of this policy is to transform the digital realm into a conduit for progress and inclusivity, as opposed to a medium for coercion and repression. NEW CYBER SECURITY POLICY: The United States cyber security policy consists of a range of laws, regulations, strategies, and practices designed to protect the nation’s information infrastructure, networks, and systems from cyber threats.
The primary goals of U.S. cyber security policy are to secure the nation’s critical infrastructure, such as energy, financial, transportation, and telecommunications systems, from cyber threats that could cause significant disruptions to daily life.
It works to protect national security by preventing cyber espionage, cyber terrorism, and cyber warfare threats from foreign adversaries.US supports innovation and economic growth by protecting intellectual property and sensitive business information from cyber threats and works with international partners to promote global cyber security norms, information sharing, and coordinated responses to cyber threats. CHINA AND RUSSIA IN US CYBER SECURITY POLICY China and Russia are considered to be major cyber threats to the United States and therefore play a significant role in U.S. cyber security policy. Both countries have been accused of engaging in cyber espionage, cyber-attacks, and other malicious cyber activities against U.S. targets, including government agencies, private businesses, and critical infrastructure. The U.S. government has implemented a number of measures to address these threats, including sanctions, diplomatic pressure, and cyber deterrence measures. In particular, the U.S. government has taken steps to strengthen its own cyber defenses, increase information sharing and collaboration with allies, and engages in offensive cyber operations against foreign adversaries. China and Russia have also been the targets of U.S. cyber operations and sanctions in response to their malicious cyber activities. For example, the U.S. government has imposed sanctions on Russian entities and individuals, including government officials and cyber criminals, for their involvement in cyber-attacks against U.S. targets.
China and Russia’s activities in cyberspace have shaped U.S. cyber security policy and led to increased attention and resources devoted to protecting U.S. networks and systems from foreign threats.
WHAT PAKISTAN CAN LEARN FROM US CYBER SECURITY POLICY? The US cyber security policy emphasizes collaboration and information sharing among government agencies, the private sector, and international partners. Pakistan can learn from this approach by fostering collaboration and cooperation among government agencies, industry, and academic institutions to build a robust cybersecurity ecosystem. It also emphasizes risk management, including identifying, assessing, and mitigating cyber security risks. Pakistan can adopt a similar approach by identifying and prioritizing critical assets, assessing the risks associated with those assets, and implementing appropriate cybersecurity measures. Moreover, the importance of cyber security education and awareness for all stakeholders is a key strategy of the US in Cyberspace and Pakistan can improve its cyber policy by developing cyber security awareness programs to educate and train government employees, private sector stakeholders, and the general public. Pakistan can learn from the US policy of giving importance to incident response and recovery plans to minimize the impact of cyber-attacks by developing and implementing effective incident response and recovery plans to mitigate the impact of cyber-attacks. In a nutshell, the US cyber security policy emphasizes the importance of continuous monitoring and evaluation of cyber security measures to identify and address emerging threats and Pakistan should also implement continuous monitoring and evaluation of its cyber security measures to ensure that they remain effective and relevant over time.
The Author is Researcher at the Center for International Strategic Studies, AJK, working on Comprehensive Security and Strategic Stability. She is also an M.Phil. Scholar at Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad.

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Center for International Strategic Studies AJK, King Abdullah Campus Chatter kalas Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir