The U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy: A Vehicle with an International Journey




National Cybersecurity Strategy, critical infrastructure attacks, zero trust architecture, supply chain risk management, software supply chain security


The U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy is focused on the five pillars of defending critical infrastructure: detect, disrupt, and dismantle threat actors; improve market resilience and security; invest in future resilience; and create international partnerships with shared goals. The National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan is focused on critical infrastructure supporting energy, financial, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing sectors. In the U.S. alone, the SolarWinds supply chain attack affected nine federal agencies and about 100 companies. Ransomware attacks such as the Colonial Pipelines, the largest U.S. oil pipeline, disrupted supplies of gasoline and fuel to the U.S. East Coast and the JBS USA as the largest meat processor ransomware attack affecting one-fifth of the nation’s meat supply. The U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy as a response to the U.S.’s critical infrastructure concerns led to the creation of two core cybersecurity documents which were crafted jointly with several other allies. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) crafted the Shifting the Balance of Cybersecurity Risk: Principles and Approaches for Secure by Design Software with joint agreement with National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and 15 international government agencies to give international vendors a roadmap of the expected cybersecurity hygiene required from their products. (CISA, 2023a; Car & De Luca, 2022) Building on the Shifting the Balance of Cybersecurity Risk: Principles and Approaches for Secure by Design Software, CISA, FBI and NSA met with cybersecurity organizations from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and United Kingdom and jointly created The Case for Memory Safe Roadmaps: Why Both C-Suite Executives and Technical Experts Need to Take Memory Safe Coding Seriously as a core issue identified in the earlier guidance. (CISA, 2023c). These led by the U.S. helped initiate an international cybersecurity norm insisting international software manufacturers demonstrate product security and transparency. They showed how a global community can rally to solve cybersecurity challenges that have existed for decades. This led to twenty of the largest international software vendors creating the Minimum Viable Secure Product (MSVP) Working Group to address the requirements levied by these documents; CISA has joined this working group to help shape procurement, contractual controls, self-assessment, and system development lifecycle (SDLC) with these vendors. (CISA, 2024d; MSVP, n.d.) This research argues that the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) should leverage the talent pool of CISA, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Defense (DoD), FBI, and NSA to improve detection, information sharing, security standards, and implementation for not only the U.S.’s government and commercial sectors, but also helps our allies and partners. The DoD and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) have made great strides in improving security by integrating improvements with Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA), Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM), Software Supply Chain Security, Cybersecurity Safety Review Board (CSRB), Cybersecurity Incident & Vulnerability Response Playbooks, and DoD National Security Systems (NSS) standards. The NSC should coordinate through CISA to develop a collaborative effort to not only benefit the U.S. critical infrastructure but also help our allies and partners.