The top White House cyber security official on Tuesday asked a public-private advisory panel charged with making recommendations to ensure the resilience of the nation's telecommunications networks and services to undertake a study on the importance of more agile information and communications networks (ICT) for the federal government and critical infrastructures.
The new "study would be to identify best practices and develop recommendations for a strategic plan to deploy software defined networking," Grant Schneider, the federal chief information security officer and senior director for Cybersecurity Policy on the National Security Council staff, said at the end of a meeting of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC).
The NSTAC unanimously approved a report that will be sent to President Trump that makes recommendations to bolster resiliency and foster innovation in the ICT area.
Dave DeWalt, a former CEO of McAfee [MFE] and FireEye [FEYE] and who currently leads his own cyber security investment platform NightDragon Security, said during the teleconferenced NSTAC meeting that the U.S. doesn't want to find itself again dependent on potentially untrustworthy suppliers of strategic technologies, as the country currently faces with regard to fifth generation (5G) wireless systems that are provided by companies in China.
DeWalt led the study on Advancing Resiliency and Fostering Innovation in the Information and Communications Technology Ecosystem that was approved by the NSTAC during the meeting, which was held via teleconference. The NSTAC is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Highlighting the potential significance of software defined networking, Schneider said it is "Possibly a technology that can help with some of the challenges that we have and I think certainly a technology that we don't want to get behind the ball on as you alluded to with 5G previously Dave," referencing DeWalt's comments about dependency on Chinese 5G technology.
Schneider said the White House will send a formal request to the NSTAC regarding the software defined networking study but said some of the avenues that it wants explored include how these networks can help with security challenges such as supply chain risks.
He also said questions that White House would "love to see addressed" include costs and benefits of adopting these networks for security, how these networks are currently being implemented, and traditional hardware-based security best practices that can be applied to these networks.