On February 10, 2015, the White House announced that it will create a new agency tasked with facilitating the sharing of cyber threat information among other federal agencies.  Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, made the announcement in a speech in Washington, D.C.  With serious cyber attacks aimed at the private sector increasing, the federal government is now working to augment and better organize its resources to help identify and reduce these threats.  Today’s move underscores the heightened need and efforts of the Obama administration to address cyber threats to both the private sector and federal agencies.  “The cyber-threat is one of the greatest threats we face, and policymakers and operators will benefit from having a rapid source of intelligence,” Monaco said in an interview.

Dubbed the “Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center” (CTIIC), the agency will be modeled on the National Counterterrorism Center, which was created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and will fall under the authority of the director of National Intelligence.  Under a new White House plan, industry will share cyber threat information with the Department of Homeland Security, which will share the data with the CTIIC.  Further, the new center will share that information with the rest of the federal government and help federal officials aid industry, she said.

Monaco stressed the need to work in "lockstep" with the private sector.  “Industry cannot and should not rely on the federal government for everything in cybersecurity, but the government will not leave industry to fend for itself,” she said.  Addressing concerns about potential liability for the sharing of private information, Monaco pointed toward the “targeted and narrow liability protection” that was included as part of the White House's legislative proposal for cybersecurity information sharing.

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) commended the plans for the new center.  "As we have seen with the cyber attacks on Anthem and Sony, the cyber threat is real, growing and immediate," McCaul said.  "Anything that can be done to improve coordination within the federal government will help to better protect our nation from cyber breaches."

Monaco noted that she will be attending the White House cybersecurity summit on February 13, 2015, at Stanford University.  President Obama plans to travel to and keynote the summit, joined by other senior officials, again underscoring the administration’s focus on cybersecurity.  More announcements and actions related to cybersecurity and privacy may come in conjunction with the summit, which will bring together leaders from across the country from industry, tech companies and law enforcement; consumer and privacy advocates; law professors; and students in order to collaborate and explore partnerships that will help develop the best ways to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity defenses.