Tillerson and State Dept. establish new office to combat cyber threats


As a way to respond to cybersecurity threats, the State Department quietly established the Cyber and Technology Security (CTS) directorate. The new office, created earlier this year, was set within the Diplomatic Security Service.

On May 11, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at protecting the nation’s infrastructure from incurring cyber attacks and increasing cyber security initiatives. The executive order commanded a review of the United States’ cybersecurity capabilities, seeking to improve the network security of government agencies.

CTS was launched on May 28 but was not accompanied by an official press release at the time of its establishment. The new directorate, which could not be found on the department’s website, was initially reported to exist by Federal News Radio last week.

A government official reportedly told Federal News Radio that the new directorate gives the State Department’s chief information officer a point of contact that ensures embassies, consulates and foreign affairs officers are defending cyber threats adequately.

A department official has confirmed the directorate’s existence, according to The Hill. They report that a State official described the function of the directorate, saying it “facilitates the conduct of global diplomacy by protecting life, property, and information with advanced cybersecurity programs and risk-managed technology innovation.”

“CTS provides advanced cyber threat analysis, incident detection and response, cyber investigative support, and emerging technology solutions,” the official reportedly said.

At the State Department, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is said to be planning to shut down the cybersecurity coordinator’s office, as he seeks to reorganize the department. The office may be placed under the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

The cyber coordinator is a position established under the Obama administration. It is responsible for engaging with other nations on cyber issues and serves as a liaison to the White House, other federal agencies, and the private sector.

The last cybersecurity coordinator, Chris Painter, abandoned his position at the end of July.

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