December 2, 2023

The U.S. Protection Division has obtained the findings of a months-long outsider examination about the right way to greatest create a brand new lead cyber coverage chief.

The File first reported earlier this 12 months that the Pentagon had tapped the RAND Company to review the creation of an assistant secretary of protection for cyber coverage. The submit was mandated in final 12 months’s bipartisan protection coverage invoice after years of congressional frustration that the division lacks a clear-cut civilian chief accountable for digital safety coverage.

John Plumb, who serves because the assistant secretary for house coverage and likewise fills the workplace of the principal cyber advisor to the secretary of protection, later testified to Home lawmakers that the report wouldn’t be delivered till September, with a nominee to ultimately observe.

In an electronic mail on Tuesday, a DoD spokesperson confirmed RAND delivered its analysis “on the finish of September as contractually required.”

The division is “now reviewing the examine’s outcomes, which can inform forthcoming choices on the organizational construction, resourcing, and workforce of the brand new workplace,” the spokesperson added.

Whereas the report has been submitted, it should doubtless nonetheless be months earlier than the Pentagon, which was against establishing the brand new submit and is infamous for its layers of forms, formally stands up the workplace and nominates somebody for the job..

An apparent candidate for the function had been Mieke Eoyang, who serves as deputy assistant secretary of protection for cyber coverage and stories on to Plumb.

She has spoken extensively concerning the altering function of cyber operations in armed battle following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and final month served because the face of the Pentagon when it rolled out its newest cyber technique.

Nonetheless, Eoyang’s previous as a senior Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill and a commentator on MSNBC has prompted issues that she wouldn’t be confirmed in a narrowly-divided Senate, in response to two folks aware of the matter.

The sources, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate the brand new workplace candidly, stated one rumored identify for the submit is Michael Sulmeyer, the Military’s principal cyber adviser.

Sulmeyer has served in a number of cyber coverage roles over his profession, together with performing as a senior adviser to U.S. Cyber Command and Nationwide Safety Company chief Gen. Paul Nakasone.

He additionally briefly labored on cyber coverage for the Nationwide Safety Council in the beginning of the Biden administration.

In his present place, Sulmeyer counsels the Military secretary on areas like readiness, capabilities and technique for a drive that numbers multiple million folks — when energetic drive, guard, reserves and civilians are mixed.

The DoD spokesperson declined to touch upon potential candidates for the workplace.

“It’s truthful to say that the division doesn’t have any bulletins right now,” they stated.

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak is a senior cybersecurity reporter for The File. He spent the final 5 years at Politico, the place he coated Congress, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence group and was a driving drive behind the publication’s cybersecurity e-newsletter.