The White House released its International Strategy for Cyberspace yesterday. Many of the ideas and objectives have been expressed before by various officials, but newness does not seem to be the point. Rather, the importance of the document rests in gathering all the United States’ goals for cyber in one place, signaling to both adversaries and friends what Washington is expecting from them and what it will do itself.
The strategy states that the United States will “work to promote an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable information and communications infrastructure.” As Jason Healey at The Atlantic Council notes, the phrasing of these goals is important. The strategy does not promise absolute security or reliability, which are unattainable, but says communications systems should be secure and reliable “enough” to ensure that users continue to have trust in them. Diplomacy, defense, and development are to be the tools through which the United States pursues these four goals, and U.S. officials will be concentrating their efforts in eight areas: international standards and open markets; network defense; law enforcement and extending the reach of the Budapest Convention; military alliance and cooperative security; Internet governance; international development and capacity building; and the support of Internet freedom and privacy.