White House officials and President Obama's top military adviser disagree about whether the United States has a coherent national strategy to address cyber threats.
The rift surfaced when Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently voiced concerns at the Atlantic Council about the nation's lack of preparedness for a cyber attack, cited strategic shortcomings and assigned blame to Congress.
"We have sectors within our nation that are more ready than others, but we don't have a coherent cyber strategy as a nation," Dempsey said. "And I understand why. . . . There are some big issues involved with achieving that kind of coherence -- issues related to privacy and cost, information sharing and all of the liabilities that come in the absence of legislation to incentivize information sharing."
Dempsey has previously defined strategy not merely as the issuance of high-profile guidance but as the process of balancing ends, ways and means.