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House Democrats urge Trump to reinstate cyber policy coordinator job

House Democrats urge Trump to reinstate cyber policy coordinator job

Under H.R. 5822, the Senate-confirmed director of the National Office for Cyberspace would be tasked with recommending security measures and budgets for federal agencies, coordinating cyberspace issues and ensuring civil liberties are upheld, and centralizing federal information infrastructure defense efforts.

Robert Palladino, a spokesman for the National Security Council, confirmed Tuesday that the White House has chose to remove the cyber coordinator position following Joyce's departure, Reuters reported.

Politico was first to report on Bolton's elimination of the cybersecurity coordinator position.

Senator Mark Warner, the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "it's frankly mindboggling that the Trump Administration has eliminated the top White House official responsible for a whole-of-government cyber strategy, at a time when the cyber threat to our nation is greater than ever".

Politico first reported earlier on Tuesday that the position had been scrapped, citing an email from an aide to national security adviser John Bolton that was sent to NSC employees, and provided to the newspaper by a former US official. The coordinator also represented the administration in meetings with foreign partners and at conferences and other public events. The official explanation for the move is that the NSC cyber team has two capable senior directors that will take over the responsibilities of White House cybersecurity coordinator. "It is an enormous step backwards to deemphasize this growing challenge". Bolton ultimately made a decision to scrap the coordinator role.

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The coordinator reportedly dealt with such timely issues as election security and digital warfare.

As some lawmakers noted this week, having more staff dedicated to cybersecurity in the current climate would be prudent.

Previously, Bolton himself has advocated for a stronger cybersecurity front, pushing the idea of a "retaliatory cyber campaign" against digital adversaries like China, Russia, and North Korea, a move some experts told Politico could easily backfire.

Added former Obama administration cyber-policy adviser Ash Carter, "If you're covered in gasoline, be careful throwing matches".