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Remarks at the Release of the U.S. International Strategy for Cyberspace

As Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn, III, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Monday, May 16, 2011

Thank you Secretary Napolitano.

As the President’s strategy makes clear, the challenges we face in cyberspace are not amenable to narrow solutions. No single agency can tackle the required issues.  No one nation can devise or enforce a sustainable solution. 

The challenge even extends beyond what governments can achieve alone.  The private sector, both here and around the world, must be part of the solution. The international cyber strategy laid out by President Obama recognizes this complexity and the broad approach we must pursue to realize the revolutionary benefits of network technology.

It is hard to overstate the importance of cyberspace to the Department of Defense or the need to engage our allies and partners to keep it secure. Along with the advantages conferred by cyberspace comes the threat of potentially crippling cyber attacks. 

Department of Defense networks are probed millions of times a day. Foreign intelligence agencies have tried to penetrate our networks or those of our industrial partners. Cyber threats are growing more serious and more prevalent. 

Our military continues to ensure that we can operate with secure and reliable networks and maintain the capability to defend vital national assets. The military’s role in keeping our networks secure will be further detailed in our Department’s forthcoming Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace. 

But our role in furthering international cooperation is already clear. A bedrock principle of this Administration, and this President, is to usher in a new era of engagement with the world, based on mutual interests and mutual respect. 

The Department does not face cyber threats alone – individuals, the private sector, and other nations all face dangers in cyberspace. As this strategy makes clear, we are all better off acting together to meet these threats. Indeed, there is strong logic to collective cyber defense. 

Sharing malware signatures and how they are used to perpetrate intrusions greatly enhances the effectiveness of network defenses.  Just as our air defenses are linked with those of our allies to provide warning of airborne attack, so too must we share information to prevent and, if necessary, respond to cyber intrusions.

In the past year the Department of Defense has worked with some of our closest allies—including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the countries of NATO—to strengthen our cyber partnerships. While our efforts are increasingly linked with many international partners, far greater levels of cooperation, with more nations, are needed if we are to stay ahead of the cyber threat. 

The strategy the President is releasing today provides a framework for how we can expand this cooperation, and establishes how network security relates to other critical areas of partnership. Ultimately, this strategy will help us build a coalition of nations whose mutual interest in securing cyberspace will ensure the benefits we derive from it flow uninterrupted.

I am delighted to carry forward our cooperation in the cyber realm, and look forward to working closely in this effort with the Departments of State, Justice, Commerce, and Homeland Security, under the leadership of President Obama.

It is now my pleasure to introduce White House Cyber Security Coordinator Howard Schmidt.

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