National Security Professionals and Cyber Experts Call for Pentagon Intervention on Surrender of the Internet

CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
26 September 2016

For more information contact: Jody Westby at 202-255-2700 | westby@globalcyberrisk.com

NATIONAL SECURITY PROFESSIONALS AND CYBER EXPERTS CALL FOR PENTAGON INTERVENTION ON SURRENDER OF THE INTERNET

Washington, D.C.: Dozens of experienced national security professionals and experts on cyber threats and warfare joined forces today to urge the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to oppose the transfer of the last vestige of U.S. control of the Internet to a non-profit organization in less than a week.

As things stand now, on 1 October, President Obama intends to transfer all responsibilities for naming and numbering domain addresses on the Internet to a non-profit organization known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Should that happen, the United States will no longer have any control over the addresses that serve to make all websites accessible and allow users to connect to the Internet. Currently, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) reviews all new addresses and authorizes them to be posted to the authoritative root server (the “A Server”) by Verisign.

In the attached letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, current and former leaders in industry, national security, homeland and cyber security express strong concerns about the likely implications of such a step and seek a one-year delay to allow full consideration of these issues:

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority function is critical to our nation’s ability to effectively defend our national assets and civilian population and ensure integrity in our cyberwarfare capabilities….DoD is reliant upon private sector critical infrastructure for its operations, and the integrity and security of the IP addresses associated with these assets are equally important to the protection of the American people.

Of…immediate concern to us…is the prospect that the United States might be transferring to future adversaries a capability that could facilitate, particularly in time of conflict, cyberwarfare against us. In the absence of NTIA’s stewardship, we would be unable to be certain about the legitimacy of all IP addresses or whether they have been, in some form or fashion, manipulated, or compromised. Given the reliance of the U.S. military and critical infrastructure on the Internet, we must not allow it to be put needlessly at risk.

The signatories, headed by storied leaders of the defense industrial sector and cyberspace, CACI International’s Executive Chairman, J.P. “Jack” London, and the former Chairman of Network Solutions, Michael A. Daniels, represent several centuries’ worth of experience in safeguarding America and its computer systems. They conclude with the bottom line: “There is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time.”

To learn more about what is at stake and the necessity of the executive branch … contact Jody Westby, CEO of Global Cyber Risk LLC, at 202-255-2700 or westby@globalcyberrisk.com.

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