Protecting Sovereignty of U.S. Telecommunications Backbone

By Thomas Donahue

Thomas Donahue retired from CIA after 32 years of service. He served as the Chief Editor of the President’s Daily Brief and other CIA daily production during the second term of the Clinton administration, and he spent the last 18 years of his career focused on cyber threats as a manager and senior analyst in what is now known as the Center for Cyber Intelligence. He served four years at the White House during the Bush and Obama administrations, most recently as the senior director for cyber operations for the National Security Council staff. During his last two years, he was the research director at the DNI's Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center. He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from MIT.

Cipher Brief Expert and former Senior Director for Cyber Operations at the National Security Council, Thomas Donahue, provides critical perspective on the strategy needed to protect the sovereignty of the U.S. telecommunications backbone.

The U.S. Government – by blocking the sale of U.S. high technology firms to foreign companies for national security reasons and through trade sanctions that cite unfair trade practices – seeks to create time and space for U.S. industry to innovate and be competitive in global markets including those for information technology.  While arguably necessary, these actions will not be sufficient to overcome a U.S. deficit in the marketplace for high-end telecommunications integration.  Overcoming this deficit will be essential not only to U.S. economic prosperity but also to national security, which depends on telecommunication to serve as the “nervous system” for controlling critical infrastructure and military defensive systems.

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