McCrary Institute director contributes to federal cyber commission report

Published: Mar 12, 2020 2:30 PM

By Austin Phillips

The U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission released its official report on cybersecurity strategy and policy recommendations during a press conference Wednesday in Washington, DC.

Frank Cilluffo, director of Auburn University’s McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security, serves as one of 14 members on the commission. The group includes four congressional legislators, four senior federal agency leaders and six nationally recognized experts from outside of government.

The commission’s report detailed a comprehensive strategic approach with policy recommendations for implementation. After conducting an extensive study including more than 300 interviews, a competitive strategy event modeled after the original Project Solarium in the Eisenhower administration and stress tests by external red teams, the commission advocates a new strategic approach to cybersecurity — layered cyber deterrence. The desired end state of layered cyber deterrence is to reduce the probability and impact of cyberattacks of significant consequence.

The strategy outlines three ways to achieve this end state: shaping behavior by working with allies and partners to promote responsible behavior in cyberspace; denying benefits to adversaries who have long exploited cyberspace to their advantage and to American disadvantage; and imposing costs by maintaining the capability, capacity and credibility needed to retaliate against actors who target America through cyberspace.

The official report consists of more than 75 recommendations organized by six key pillars: reform the U.S. government’s structure and organization for cyberspace, strengthen norms and non-military tools, promote national resilience, reshape the cyber ecosystem, operationalize cybersecurity collaboration with the private sector, and preserve and employ the military instrument of national power.

“This report lays a clear path forward to increase the effectiveness of U.S. government collaboration, resilience of critical infrastructure security, security of the cyber ecosystem and public-private partnership,” Cilluffo said on March 5 when he testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in a hearing titled “Threats Posed by State-Owned and State Supported Enterprises to Public Transportation.”


About the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission

The Commission is a bipartisan, intragovernmental body created by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to develop a strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace against cyberattacks of significant consequence.

Led by bipartisan co-chairs, Sen. Angus King and Rep. Mike Gallagher, the commission is also comprised of: Tom Fanning of Southern Company; Andrew Hallman, former Principal Executive of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Chris Inglis, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency; Rep. Jim Langevin; Patrick Murphy, former Acting Secretary and Under Secretary of the U.S. Army; David Norquist, Deputy Secretary of Defense; David Pekoske, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration; Samantha Ravich of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Sen. Ben Sasse; Suzanne Spaulding of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security; and Christopher Wray, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


About the McCrary Institute

The McCrary Institute seeks practical solutions to real-world problems, underpinned by research and scholarship. Founded in 2015 through a generous donation from the Alabama Power Foundation in honor of its retiring CEO and Auburn alumnus Charles D. McCrary, the Institute fuses theory with practice, and policy with technology, to protect and advance U.S. interests in the areas of cyber and critical infrastructure security.



Media Contact: Austin Phillips,, 334-844-2444
McCrary Institute Director Frank Cilluffo speaks during the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission's press conference on Wednesday.

McCrary Institute Director Frank Cilluffo speaks during the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission's press conference on Wednesday.

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