February 19, 2021 | The Hill

A strong offense can decrease cyberattacks on critical infrastructure

February 19, 2021 | The Hill

A strong offense can decrease cyberattacks on critical infrastructure


After years of malicious cyber activity targeting U.S. critical infrastructure, hackers linked to Russia recently infiltrated numerous American companies and federal government agencies, including the Departments of Homeland Security and Commerce, the Treasury and the Pentagon. This attack compromised national security and is costing business and the government untold millions or billions of dollars in damages.

This litany of increasingly sophisticated cyber intrusions by Russia, China and others makes it clear that we are in a cyber conflict and our cyber defenses alone are insufficient to protect our critical infrastructure.

It is time to reassess our national approach to cyber protection and ensure that our efforts include a strong defense and, importantly, a commitment to using offense capabilities, both cyber and non-cyber, to impose consequences on those who would do us harm.

Retired Gen. Michael V. Hayden is the former director of the National Security Agency and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Thomas J. Ridge is the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and the 43rd governor of Pennsylvania.

John E. Shkor is a retired U.S. Coast Guard vice admiral who served as Atlantic Area commander and chief counsel of the Coast Guard, and as chief operating officer for the Transportation Security Administration following 9/11.

Mark C. Montgomery is a retired U.S Navy rear admiral who served as director of operations at the U.S. Pacific Command. He currently is executive director of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkCMontgomery. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.


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