The past few years have seen the United States experience election hacking efforts by foreign adversaries and corporate data breaches from underground hacktivists, among other events, leaving many officials to wonder what the U.S. doctrine for cyberspace even is.
The new U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission was created to answer just that.
"We lack a doctrine that defines how, when and where we play offense and defense. We don’t have a playbook. It’s time to draft one,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who is credited with developing the commission to help contextualize cyber in the broader national and economic security discussion.
The Cyberspace Solarium Commission, modeled after President Eisenhower’s Project Solarium, was established by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019. The purpose of the commission, according to the legislation, is “to develop a consensus on a strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace against cyberattacks of significant consequences.”
The bipartisan Cyberspace Solarium commission will include a total of 14 members, including the deputy director of national intelligence, the deputy secretary of homeland security, the deputy secretary of defense, and the director of the FBI.
Congress will be represented on the committee by members appointed by congressional leadership. The majority leader of the Senate, in consultation with the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has the power to appoint three to the committee: one member of the Senate and two civilians. The minority leader has the power to appoint a member of the Senate and a civilian, after consulting with the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee. These appointment powers are mirrored in the House of Representatives.
On Sept. 25, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif., appointed to the commission U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., and former congressman Patrick Murphy.
Despite the Sept. 26 appointment deadline specified by the 2019 NDAA, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; have yet to announce any remaining appointments.