Short answer: No, I don’t think so.  Here are the issues.

None of the big legislative players lost on November 2 (few were even standing for re-election). So, in that regard, all the legislative efforts should continue to move through the system. However, all the bills have enjoyed significant bipartisan involvement and support. Will the new Congress (Republican House and much tighter but still Democratic Senate) be as willing to be bipartisan? Will these key areas of cooperation improve or fall by the wayside? The President and other Dems have already been calling for more cooperation. It is a toss up as to whether the new Speaker of the House will accept their olive branch.

On the executive side, theoretically, nothing has changed. That, however, is only a theory.  Reality will steamroller that theory in a heartbeat. Everything will change with regard to priorities and efforts for the White House. Cyber efforts could be deemed second-tier stuff and lose what momentum they have finally started to gain. I certainly hope not.

Several new efforts by both the Administration and by non-governmental organizations in support of the executive branch have begun to make progress. DHS has started the national Education and Awareness Campaign, with its “Stop, Think, Connect” slogan.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released an excellent Cyber Security Guide aimed at small businesses, and the Homeland Security & Defense Business Council began their year-long focus on readiness, called 9-10-11 (The day before 9/11, plus ten years: Are we ready for what may happen “tomorrow?”) by looking at cyber readiness. There are lots of other very positive efforts as well.

It will be essential that we keep our representatives, the White House, DHS, NIST and other parts of the executive branch focusing on cyber as a key issue. We cannot allow it to drop below the radar screen and into the “giant warehouse” of Raiders of the Lost Arc fame. America wants this issue addressed. Now that we have finally begun, we should not stop.

I am not big on calling governmental officials, but this may be an exception. Keep an eye out for signs of “issue fatigue.” If it begins with cyber, we will have a major problem, because the bad guys are not lessening their priority on it. Cyber crime goes up everyday, cyber terrorism is closer to becoming a reality than ever before, and nation states across the globe are homing in on cyber as tomorrow’s answer to fast, relatively cheap strike and defend capability.

I will be a glass-half-full guy today and say we still “get it.” I hope I am right.

Dr. Steven Bucci is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He was previously a lead consultant to IBM on cyber security policy. Bucci’s military and government service make him a recognized expert in the interagency process and defense of U.S. interests, particularly with regard to critical infrastructure and what he calls the productive interplay of government and the private sector. Read More