House lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the federal government to develop and adopt a “comprehensive” cybersecurity policy that defines cyber war.
The resolution, introduced by Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Scott Taylor (R-Va.) on Thursday, asks for a policy “that clearly defines acts of aggression, acts of war, and other related events in cyberspace, including any commensurate responses to any such act or event in cyberspace.”
The resolution cites nine “mega-breaches” that affected the U.S. in 2015, including the one at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in which Chinese hackers had access to the personal information of more than 20 million Americans. After the OPM breach, former President Barack Obamaand Chinese President Xi Jinping came to an agreement to tamper down the digital theft of intellectual property. Experts have observed that the agreement was followed by a decrease in Chinese cyber intrusions on U.S. interests.
Lawmakers have been grappling with how to define an act of war in cyberspace as nation states increasingly use cyber to achieve their strategic objectives. Annual defense policy legislation passed in December directs the Trump administration to spell out within a year what behaviors in cyberspace may warrant a military response.