Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a plan for the nation's cybersecurity and, following last week's debate performance, he's rolling it out on the stump.
Taking the stage at the Retired American Warriors PAC in Herndon, Virginia, on Oct. 3, Trump discussed a strategy that included an examination of the federal government's cyber posture, blended with devastating cyber attacks on U.S. enemies.
"Today is just the beginning of a long and overdue national discussion on how to protect ourselves from modern cybercrime and evolving national security threats and how to develop the cyber offense strategies necessary to gain a critical security edge in the 21st century," he said.
"We need the edge, and ideally, a big one."
To obtain that edge Trump said that his administration would conduct an offensive-centered strategy that calls on augmenting U.S. Cyber Command based off of recommendations from the U.S. Joint Chiefs.
"As a deterrent against attacks on our critical resources, the United States must possess — and has to — the unquestioned capacity to launch crippling cyber counterattacks," he said, "And I mean crippling."
Following last week’s debate — where he called for stronger cyber defense, but offered little detail on what his administration would do to accomplish it — Trump unveiled a more generalized blueprint that leads with strong cyberattacks as a defense, coupled with a top-down evaluation of the federal government’s IT systems.
"This is the warfare of the future," he said. "America’s dominance in the arena must be unquestioned. Today, it’s totally questioned. People don’t even know if we have the capability that we are supposed to have.
"We will put together a team of our best military, civilian and private sector cybersecurity experts to comprehensively review all of our cybersecurity systems and technologies. The cyber review team will proceed with the most sensitive systems first, but ultimately, all systems will be analyzed and made as secure as modern technology permits."
Trump said there would also be routine reviews of cyber vulnerabilities, depending on the sensitivity of the information collected in each system.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, when asked about cybersecurity at last week’s debate, pointed her finger for recent cyberattacks explicitly at China and Russia, promising to use the country’s cyber weapons as an option of last resort, but one that would be available.
"And we’re going to have to make it clear that we don’t want to use the kinds of tools that we have," she said. "We don’t want to engage in a different kind of warfare. But we will defend the citizens of this country."
Neither candidate has provided great detail about their cyber strategies on their respective campaign websites. Clinton promises to ensure that China "play[s] by the rules," while Trump calls for investment in cyber offense and evaluating vulnerabilities.