The Cybersecurity Coordinator role was elevated to the position of assistant to the president two years ago under President Barack Obama, and the person occupying it was tasked with helping coordinate and unify cybersecurity policy and efforts across government agencies. "To do anything less is a direct threat to national security".
Senator Mark Warner, the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "it's frankly mindboggling that the Trump Administration has eliminated the top White House official responsible for a whole-of-government cyber strategy, at a time when the cyber threat to our nation is greater than ever".
"It is an enormous step backwards to deemphasize the importance of this growing domain within the White House", Langevin added in a statement Tuesday. The coordinator was also present at meetings with foreign partners. According to Politico, he is not going to be replaced, because the National Security Council already has other executives monitoring cyber matters and thinks the White House role is an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. Bolton ultimately made a decision to scrap the coordinator role.
Politico, which first reported the decision Tuesday, said the move was part of an effort to "streamline authority" for senior directors who lead teams within the NSC.
The Executive Cyberspace Coordination Act unveiled Tuesday would establish a national office for cyber space at the president's office and comes after Rob Joyce, the Trump administrator's cyber coordinator, resigned from his post. Forcing those responsibilities onto remaining officials may strain them unnecessarily or weaken their ability to respond promptly to threats or policy requests.
Bolton's decision to slash the cyber coordinator position is especially curious considering the timing.
"[Bolton's] rhetoric here is putting any sense of balance we have here at risk", former Air Force cyber officer and Dragos Security co-founder Robert Lee said in April.