The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) – a trade group focused on partnerships to address intelligence and national security priorities – is pushing for creation of a Cyber National Guard to defend against attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure and other targets.

INSA offered that proposal and other related ideas in a recent report that details how new organizations could be created through cooperation between the government and the private sector to meet cybersecurity threats.

“While the cyber community has extensively debated the wisdom of, and options for, industry involvement in offensive cyber operations against cyber actors, clear options have not (yet) materialized,” INSA said. The group said its report offers “several options for industry engagement, principally through public-private collaborative efforts led by multiple government agencies.”

In addition to the Cyber National Guard concept, INSA proposed:

  • Creation of a corporate cyber reserve that can augment the cyber capabilities of the Federal government;
  • A Defense Department national digital reserve corps that could also amplify government’s security capabilities.
  • A private sector advisory council to help U.S. Cyber Command and its components understand foreign network targets; and
  • A whole-of-nation “Cyber Manhattan Project” to harness technical innovation and help the United States stay ahead of its adversaries’ cyber capabilities.

As part of those recommendations, INSA said that the best defensive measures include offensive actions that can help protect U.S. infrastructure.

“Since offensive cyber activities are generally illegal for private actors to undertake, government sponsorship of private citizens’ contributions through government institutions will provide a legal framework for their engagement,” the group said.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.