US CyberDome: The Cyber Solution Political Campaigns Urgently Need

Charles Cooper

As the 2020 election approaches, campaigns do not need to choose between security and political infrastructure – they can and should prioritize both.

The 2020 election is now less than 100 days away. While campaigns will spend the remaining months delivering their message to potential voters, nefarious actors from across the world will be working furiously to attack the cyber infrastructure of any candidate possible. Our campaigns are generally unprepared, and they remain a highly valuable and highly vulnerable target of well-funded bad actors and nation states.

There may be no greater near-term risk to our democracy and to the political party infrastructure than foreign states and organizations working to disrupt our campaigns and elections. Those seeking to undermine our democracy do so without regard to political party, candidate, or level of office. Every campaign can be a target and, obviously, the higher level the office the greater and more valuable the target.

Unfortunately, these well-funded and sophisticated actors are often met with the under-funded campaign infrastructure that, understandably, puts all their focus on the basic framework of any campaign – staff, strategy, messaging, communications, policy development, media, fundraising, get out the vote tactics, and volunteers. They are lean operations without excess cash for expenses not directly tied to winning. They all have more to do than can fit within a short political window and they never have enough campaign funds to do it. At politicking, these campaigns are literally the best in the world. At protecting themselves from cyber-attack, there is a lot to be desired.

It goes without saying that a cyber-attack on a campaign is not only a risk to the campaign and the election, but it is also a significant national security risk. This style of attack has become a priority of those seeking to harm and disrupt the United States.

I have had the privilege of being a strategic advisor to US CyberDome, a new non-profit organization that is bringing cybersecurity solutions to campaigns and doing so without any expense to the campaign itself, in accordance with FEC guidelines. US CyberDome’s board is a who’s who in the national security space – two former DHS Secretaries, a former Director of National Intelligence, a former Secretary of Defense, a former Secretary of the Army, a former Director of the CIA, and a senior leader from the NSA. These luminaries have collectively spent decades defending this country, and they chose to lend their expertise to US CyberDome because the organization is filling a critical need that is otherwise going unmet, leaving our campaigns, and therefore our democracy, vulnerable to attack.

This unique and innovative solution is what political campaigns desperately need – best in class cyber security protection without needing to leverage a limited campaign budget. The opportunity costs of inaction are tremendous and reach well beyond the four corners of a campaign office.

As the 2020 election approaches, campaigns do not need to choose between security and political infrastructure – they can and should prioritize both.

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