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Biden Broadens NSA Oversight of National Security Systems

New Cybersecurity National Security Memorandum will let the spy agency "identify vulnerabilities, detect malicious threat activity and drive mitigations," agency cybersecurity director says.

President Biden yesterday signed a memorandum that effectively expands the National Security Agency's role in overseeing the cybersecurity of intelligence, military, and other US government networks that handle classified or sensitive military or intel activities and data.

"We stand ready to fulfill our role, and our responsibility, in securing our nation against foreign malicious actors, and any efforts to exploit our national security systems," said General Paul M. Nakasone, chief of the NSA and director of the US Commander Cyber Command, in a statement about the NSA's enhanced role.

Agencies with national security systems now report to Nakasone any cyber incidents of their systems, how they are mitigating cybersecurity incidents, and assessments of threats to their systems. The memorandum also requires them to adopt more modern encryption and zero-trust security strategies, among other cybersecurity practices.

"The new authorities will provide us with the necessary cybersecurity visibility into our most important systems," said Rob Joyce, NSA cybersecurity director and deputy national manager for national security systems. "This new insight will allow us to identify vulnerabilities, detect malicious threat activity and drive mitigations to better secure all national security systems."

The Memorandum on Improving the Cybersecurity of National Security, Department of Defense, and Intelligence Community Systems is available online on the White House website.