Meeting our Nation’s critical national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) challenges demands attention to many issues. Among these, none could be more important than the availability and reliability of telecommunication services. The President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) mission is to provide the U.S. Government the best possible industry advice in these areas.
30 Years of Partnership
For over 30 years, the NSTAC has brought together up to 30 industry chief executives from major telecommunications companies, network service providers, information technology, finance, and aerospace companies. These industry leaders provide the President with collaborative advice and expertise, as well as robust reviews and recommendations. The NSTAC’s goal is to develop recommendations to the President to assure vital telecommunications links through any event or crisis, and to help the U.S. Government maintain a reliable, secure, and resilient national communications posture.
Mission and Key Themes
Beyond the industry collaboration alone, the NSTAC serves as a prominent model for trusted public/private partnerships, resulting in mutually beneficial information sharing mechanisms and the implementation of several programs to reinforce that partnership. One of the NSTAC’s first efforts recommended the creation of the National Coordinating Center as an operational arm of the NSTAC, and later, as the Information Sharing and Analysis Center for the communications sector, where information relevant to the protection and operation of the communications infrastructure is shared between industry and Government. Subsequently, the NSTAC also helped to establish the industry and Government Network Security Information Exchanges (NSIE), allowing representatives from the public and private sectors to share sensitive information on threats to operations, administration, maintenance, and provisioning systems supporting the telecommunications infrastructure. The NSTAC recognized that information sharing is a key component to the industry and Government relationship, tying together all facets of the NSTAC agenda to provide resilient national telecommunications services.
Since its inception, the NSTAC has addressed a wide range of policy and technical issues regarding communications, information systems, information assurance, critical infrastructure protection, and other NS/EP communications concerns. In recent years, the Government, with the support of the NSTAC, addressed new NS/EP challenges caused by several primary factors: the convergence of traditional and broadband networks; the changing global threat environment; and the continuing global expansion of both provider and user communities. In the face of this ever-increasing complexity of the domestic and global network environment, the NSTAC’s work, more so than ever, is of vital national importance, and the committee remains vigilant in aggressively addressing our Nation’s highest priority NS/EP communications needs.
Throughout the NSTAC’s history, five key themes continue to emerge as their major areas of focus:
- Strengthening national security
- Enhancing cybersecurity
- Maintaining the global communications infrastructure
- Assuring communications for disaster response
- Addressing critical infrastructure interdependencies and dependencies
The NSTAC remains committed to providing the best possible technical information and policy advice to assist the President and other stakeholders responsible for the critical NS/EP services for our Nation.
Strengthening National Security
A clear and constant priority for the U.S. Government as well as for the private sector is to ensure national security in today’s rapidly shifting threat environment. The NSTAC continually places special emphasis on telecommunication and information system development issues to enhance national security foundations.
The NSTAC has addressed numerous issue areas related to national security, providing robust reviews, recommendations, and support to maintain a strong national communications security stance. In its recent history especially, the NSTAC emphasized efforts to strengthen national security, studying issues such as network security, global infrastructure resiliency, infrastructure interdependencies, and international incident management. These examinations, further discussed throughout this document, assist the President in securing and enhancing national security policies and the technological capabilities of the Nation.