DOD officially establishes new cyber policy office

Ashley Manning is serving in the position as the official performing the duties of the assistant secretary. Michael Sulmeyer has been tapped to serve in the role once he's been confirmed by the Senate.
An aerial view of the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 11, 2021. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany A. Chase)

The Pentagon has officially established the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy, it announced in a release Friday.

As mandated by the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed the Pentagon to create the office, elevating cyber policy within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

The department had not established it in the timeline lawmakers initially desired — sparking some backlash — opting to take more time to study what would fall under the purview of that office such as the possible inclusion of electronic warfare and information warfare.

It was eventually created March 20, per the release.


“In standing up this office, the Department is giving cyber the focus and attention that Congress intended,” Sasha Baker, acting undersecretary of defense for policy, said in a statement.

The assistant secretary will be the primary senior official for overall supervision of Department of Defense cyber policy and operations, sitting beneath the undersecretary of defense for policy, the Pentagon said. The official will also serve as the principal cyber advisor for the DOD.

According to the release, the existing deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy will report through the new assistant secretary.

The Pentagon said the responsibilities of the new office include, among others:

  • Developing, coordinating, assessing and overseeing the implementation of DOD cybers policy and strategy.
  • Overseeing and certifying the DOD’s cyberspace operations budget and providing fiscal and budgetary oversight to U.S. Cyber Command’s $3 billion annual execution with their enhanced budget authority.
  • Monitoring programs and activities associated with implementation of cyber workforce development, recruitment and retention. 
  • Overseeing integration of cyberspace operations and capabilities into operations and contingency plans.
  • Developing DOD cyber policy guidance on private sector outreach, engagement and agreements.
  • Leading the DOD implementation of national-level cyberspace policies.
  • Leading the development, implementation and oversight of cybers-related activities for security cooperation.

President Biden announced last week his intention to nominate Michael Sulmeyer to serve in the new role. Sulmeyer is currently the principal cyber adviser for the Army and has held multiple positions in the Pentagon, Cybercom and National Security Council related to cyber policy and operations.

Until Sulmeyer is confirmed by the Senate, Ashley Manning is serving in the position as the official performing the duties of the assistant secretary.

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