A New Administrations and Cyber Security

The recent presidential election has brought the issue of cyber security to the front page of most new sites and newspapers. It appears that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee headquarters and that China hacked into federal employee records at the Office of Personnel Management. Foreign governments are looking at our nation’s private information. So what action should the US take? And what happens if we don’t do anything?

Cyber security is unlike most other forms of science. For example, medical research is very expensive and requires tremendous technology for progress. There aren’t too many teens in their parent’s basements pushing the boundaries of medical research. That’s untrue for cyber security. A sole individual with a good computer and a keen mind can make tremendous headway in the creating or destroying security systems. 
In short, cyber security in the US will progress – with or without assistance from the White House. 
There are some benefits of staying out of the way. Big institutions tend to add bureaucracy, slowing progress to a crawl. Left alone to evolve, programmers might generate insightful and innovative solutions that would have been crushed under the weight of over-management. Sadly, capturing those wild-west developments becomes incredibly difficult if not under the watchful eye of a federal program.
Generally, privately funded research will keep pace with the worldwide race of building and breaking security. But private companies might simply sell their secrets to the highest bidder.
The solution is difficult to define: allow progress in an organic, creative way while trapping the results and keeping solutions inside our borders. The players are even more difficult to wrangle: renegade programmers, educational institutions, private firms, and federal offices. They aren’t going to play well with others.
The good news is that cyber security may not necessarily need federal funds to progress. The bad news is that without those funds, progress might simply land in the hands of the foreign players who already have their hands in our private affairs.