President Donald Trump’s administration Friday highlighted offensive cyber actions among its first digital messages to the American people.
Updates to the White House website’s issues page, posted moments after Trump’s inauguration, included developing “defensive and offensive” capabilities at U.S. Cyber Command and engaging in “cyber warfare” to disrupt recruiting and propaganda by the Islamic State.
The Defense Department was wary of discussing its offensive cyber capabilities during the Obama administration, acknowledging for the first time it might go on cyber offense when directed by the president in a 2015 cyber strategy update.
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter acknowledged in 2016 the military was using cyber tools to combat ISIL.
Trump pledged to surge U.S. cybersecurity during his campaign and after his election, though numerous questions remain about how precisely he’ll attack the issue. Trump has signaled he may shift some domestic cyber responsibilities from the Homeland Security Department to the Defense Department, a move that would likely require the consent of Congress.