Breaking News Emails
The U.S. government is launching a cybersecurity center that will collect information on cyber threats around the nation and disseminate analysis to other departments and agencies.
Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, announced the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Tuesday.
"We need to sync up our intelligence with our operations," Monaco said. The idea is to make connections and share information between the various law enforcement agencies, government offices, and private sector companies that make up the bulk of information gathered on cyber threats.
Monaco explained that she begins her day by briefing President Obama about the biggest threats to the nation. "Since I began this job two years ago, I can tell you an increasing amount of the bad news I share is unfortunately.... cyber threats," she said.
Monaco mentioned a handful of the high-profile companies and groups that have suffered cyberattacks this year, including Home Depot, JP Morgan, Sony, CENTCOM, the U.S. Postal Service and health insurer Anthem.
"We are at a transformational moment" in the cyber threat landscape, Monaco said. "Our prosperity and security depend upon the Internet being secure against threats."
David O’Neil, a former prosecutor with the Department of Justice who is now a partner at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, told NBC News he thinks it's smart to coordinate discussion between disparate law enforcement groups.
"Having a person sitting at the table in the Situation Room whose job it is to integrate all of those threat streams into a digested analysis for the president and others is a very positive step," O'Neil said.
But other experts see CTIIC as yet another layer of bureaucracy.
"In principle, having a single 'belly button' is a nice idea. But in reality, it’s just one more agency with cybersecurity responsibility," Jeff Williams, the CTO and founder of security software firm Contrast Security, told NBC News via email.
The Obama White House has put a strong emphasis on cybersecurity in recent months, particularly in the walkup to his State of the Union address in January. The administration's budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year calls for $14 billion to build up the government's ability to deal with threats to federal and private systems.