As the public notice makes clear, however, DHS still isn’t sure how best to oversee the government’s response to cyberattacks, which have multiplied in recent years. Among the best-known examples are the late 2014 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the 2014-2015 breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The new cyber subcommittee will be responsible for determining the government’s readiness to “meet the emerging cyber threat” and offering guidance on “building cross-sector capabilities to rapidly restore critical functions and services following a significant cyber event,” the notice says.
It’s likely that the subcommittee’s work will including assessing the viability of cyber counterattacks, a suggestion put forth by leading Republicans in the wake of the OPM hack. The Obama administration has been reticent to deploy its considerable cyber tools offensively, although the president did say after the Sony hack that the U.S. would respond “proportionally” and “in a place and time and manner that we choose.”