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Cyber Federalism: Defining Cybers Jurisdictional Boundaries

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Cybersecurity was once a federal government responsibility because cyber had limited impact on state and local entities, but todays cyber risks to critical infrastructure and public services affect all levels of government. This thesis explores the current state of cybersecurity in the United States and examines what role each level of governmentfederal, state, and localshould play in protecting against and responding to a significant cyber incident. It evaluates current state and local cyber capabilities and outlines the capabilities these governments must develop to play a larger role in this growing homeland security mission. The research concludes that state and local governments should have an important role in cyber preparedness and cyber incident response, but many of these entities lack the capabilities necessary to play a meaningful role. Furthermore, current policies fail to provide clear jurisdictional boundaries between levels of government. Therefore, this thesis recommends that the nation develop a legal framework to improve jurisdictional boundaries, prioritize cyber investments at the state and local level, and improve cyber education. These steps will strengthen state sovereignty and improve the nations cyber posture.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Unconventional Warfare

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