The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a Joint Cyber Planning Office (JCPO), and an official from DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) told Congress today the unit will soon launch the effort.

Eric Goldstein, CISA’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the cybersecurity collaboration effort mandated by the FY2021 NDAA should be formalized in short order.

“Going forward, we are shortly launching our new cyber defense collaboration effort as established by last year’s NDAA to formalize and bring together the private sector and government in a way that will allow us to exercise the best of the private sector and government in managing these risks,” Goldstein told the committee in his prepared testimony.

The establishment of a JCPO is one of 25 recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission that made it into the FY2021 NDAA. The office has a mission to coordinate cybersecurity efforts between the Federal and private sectors.

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In written testimony submitted to the committee, Goldstein said the JCPO will develop a ransomware campaign that, “will unify efforts, synchronize activities, and identify strategic objectives to increase resilience and reduce the likelihood of a ransomware attack.” The JCPO will also use a “whole-of-nation” approach to developing cyber defense plans to stop threat actors and defend critical infrastructure.

“Our nation is facing unprecedented risks from these kinds of intrusions,” Goldstein told the committee. “CISA and our partners across the agency are deeply focused on this risk, and we all must continue to redouble this focus by working with the private sector, with our state, local, tribal and territorial partners, and with Congress to make sure that we are minimizing risks to our people to our businesses and to our government.”

CISA also recently launched as a one-stop resource on all things ransomware in a joint effort with the Department of Justice.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.