The White House Is Deciding Whether to Support a Bureau of Cyber Statistics


A key senator introduced a bill containing one of the more controversial recommendations of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.

The White House doesn’t yet know whether it would support legislation to create a Bureau of Cyber Statistics, National Cybersecurity Director Chris Inglis said in one of his first public appearances since starting in the newly created role. 

The creation of both the Bureau of Cyber Statistics—which would serve as a repository of data on cybersecurity incidents to inform risk-based decision-making—and the National Cyber Director’s office were recommendations of the Congressionally mandated Cyberspace Solarium Commission, of which Inglis was a member.

“It pains to say that while the White House does not yet have an official policy on this, still working our way through consideration,” Inglis said of the Bureau of Cyber Statistics. “I think all would agree that in the absence of this information, we are going to be episodic, we are going to be uneven and perhaps less than optimal in our response to any of these threats which affect all of us in common.” 

Inglis spoke during an event the Atlantic Council hosted Monday on the vision for the bureau. Inlgis said the most important function of the bureau would be to publish information it collects from mandated reports of cyber crime and cyber threats. The mandate would fall on entities that provide incident response services and insurance products to companies, Inglis said. Those third parties would be required to hand over data to be determined by the director of the office twice a year. 

Language in the Solarium Commission’s report recommended the Bureau of Cyber Statistics be established at the Department of Commerce or another department or agency. But industry has indicated they are more comfortable with reporting the information to the Department of Homeland Security, under some form of liability protection. 

On July, 28 Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, a co-chair of the Solarium Commission, introduced the Defense of United States Infrastructure Act, which calls for creation of a Bureau of Cyber Statistics at the Department of Homeland Security, according to a press release.

The bill also has a provision to “ensure success for the National Cyber Director” by establishing “critical hiring authorities for the newly-created Office of the National Cyber Director, ensuring that the Director will be able to attract and retain high-level talent to enhance the office’s mission," the release said.

Inglis’ office would also receive $21 million under the bipartisan infrastructure package Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer hopes to vote on within days. 

The massive infrastructure package also contains $100 million over five years for a Cyber Response and Recovery Fund at DHS; a grant program for state, local, tribal and territorial entities funded at $1 billion over four years; $157 million for cyber research and other testing at DHS’ Science and Technology office; and $35 million for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s cross-sector risk management capabilities.