Watchdog Report on US cyber diplomacy

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report on cyber diplomacy examines the activities of State, including the use of international agreements and forums, and evaluates the effectiveness of organizational changes in achieving cyber diplomacy goals.

GAO’s reports include three major challenges for the U.S. cyber diplomacy:

  • the lack of a universally agreed-upon definition of cyber diplomacy (read more),
  • clarifying the roles of different U.S. agencies in this domain, and
  • building capacity with individuals skilled in both technical cybersecurity issues and diplomacy (read more).

The Department of State leads U.S. efforts in cyber diplomacy, supported by other federal agencies. In April 2022, the State Department established a new Bureau of Cybersecurity and Digital Policy and appointed an ambassador to lead it. This move aims to strategically focus and elevate U.S. cyber diplomacy efforts.

The Department of State (State) is actively engaged in diplomatic and foreign assistance activities to support the objectives of the 2023 National Cybersecurity Strategy. These efforts involve participating in multilateral forums and agreements to strengthen norms, deter unacceptable behavior, and advance cyber policies.

State worked with the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts and Open-Ended Working Group to develop a framework on behavior in cyberspace, including peacetime norms and confidence-building measures. By establishing and enforcing cyber norms, State aims to raise the cost of bad behavior in cyberspace and deter wrongdoing.

Read more: The GAO’s Report | Interview with Latesha Love-Grayer, chief investigator.