CSIS Launches Task Force on CISA’s Evolving .gov Mission

WASHINGTON, DC – July 24, 2023 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) today announced the launch of the CSIS Task Force on CISA’s Evolving .gov Mission. The task force, which is made up of current private and former public sector leaders who have closely engaged with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) over the course of their careers, will provide strategic direction and leadership to a future-focused CSIS study assessing the nature and potential growth of the cybersecurity services CISA provides to Federal Civilian Executive Branch Agencies (FCEBs). This project comes at a time when FCEBs are on high alert, with reports in recent weeks of cyberattacks impacting federal networks.

Suzanne Spaulding, CSIS Senior Adviser for Homeland Security, and Emily Harding, Deputy Director of the CSIS International Security Program, will serve as the co-chairs of the task force. Dr. Benjamin Jensen, CSIS Senior Fellow for Future War, Gaming, and Strategy, will serve as executive director.

“The private sector is increasingly moving to managed service providers to address their cybersecurity needs. CISA provides some services to the .gov, aimed at bringing efficiency and common situational awareness,” said Spaulding. “We’ll be looking at how that’s going and whether CISA should be providing additional or different services, especially for small and medium agencies.”

As the nature of cyber threats continues to evolve, so too has CISA’s role. In recent years, CISA has grown in its size, budget, and mission to keep up with the threat landscape. CISA has stated that one of its key missions is to “provide baseline security” for FCEBs and “help these agencies manage their cyber risk.” The CSIS Task Force on CISA’s Evolving .gov Mission will critically assess CISA’s progress to date on delivering these cyber services, identifying barriers to and opportunities for improving its services for FCEBs. The task force will also stress test current programs against anticipated threat scenarios three to five years ahead in order to assess whether additional or different services might be required. The task force and supporting CSIS research team will publish their findings in a public report to be released in October 2023.

“CISA has in many ways been a model for how to build a government agency in response to a pressing threat,” said Harding. “The need for a coordinated cybersecurity effort is only increasing, and CISA is growing quickly to keep up. This project will help anticipate over the horizon threats and the demand for services to meet that threat.”

Members of the task force: 

  • Suzanne Spaulding (Co-Chair), Senior Adviser for Homeland Security, CSIS; Former Commissioner, U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commissioner; Former Undersecretary, Department of Homeland Security 
  • Emily Harding (Co-Chair), Deputy Director, International Security Program, CSIS
  • Marene Allison, Former Chief Information Security Officer, Johnson & Johnson
  • Malcolm Harkins, Chief Security & Trust Officer, Epiphany Systems; Former Chief Security & Privacy Officer, Intel 
  • Dr. Phyllis Schneck, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer, Northrop Grumman 
  • David Simon, Global Co-Head of Cybersecurity & Data Privacy, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom; Former Chief Counsel for Cybersecurity and National Security, U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission

“This independent study led by CSIS will offer tremendous insights into the future of the cybersecurity services that CISA provides to the federal government,” said Cory Simpson, CEO of Gray Space Strategies, which is generously providing financial support for this effort. “Gray Space Strategies is excited to make efforts like this possible and bring together multiple stakeholders to develop solution sets for persistent challenges the public and private sectors face in cyberspace.”

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges.