In his recently released plan for his first 100 days, Donald Trump has said that he “will ask the Defense Department and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ‘to develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyberattacks and all other form of attacks.'”
This has sparked two concerns. First, it is not clear what “vital infrastructure” includes. “Critical infrastructure” is defined in U.S. policy, but “vital infrastructure” is not.
Second, this move could indicate the further militarization of U.S. cybersecurity policy and the Internet.
The Homeland Security Department is currently tasked with ensuring the cyber protection of U.S. critical infrastructure with protection measures supplied by the companies themselves. U.S. Cyber Command has responsibility for protecting DOD networks and supporting DHS in protecting critical infrastructure upon request.
Officials and lawmakers have historically been wary of tasking the military directly with defending civilian and private sector systems.