President Biden signed an executive order on May 12, 2021 [3], to enhance U.S. cybersecurity and protect federal networks from cyber threats [4]. This order emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity as a top priority for federal agencies and calls for improved practices.


The executive order requires agencies and vendors to collaborate closely and share security-related information [3]. It highlights the need for supply-chain security, security monitoring and operations [3], and endpoint detection and response [3]. The order also encourages the adoption of Zero-Trust architecture, multi-factor authentication [3], and encryption for data protection [3]. It emphasizes the implementation of cross-agency vulnerability detection and incident response [3], the removal of barriers to threat information sharing [3], and the enhancement of software supply chain security. Additionally, it establishes a Cyber Safety Review Board [3], standardizes the federal government’s playbook for cybersecurity incidents [3], and focuses on improving detection of vulnerabilities and incidents on government networks [3].

In response to the executive order, the White House has issued a memo directing federal agencies to enhance their cybersecurity practices [2]. The memo expresses concern that multiple agencies have not fully complied with the order [2], leaving the US government vulnerable to cyber intrusions [1] [2]. National security adviser Jake Sullivan has urged senior officials to ensure full compliance by the end of the year [2]. The memo reflects frustration among officials regarding the government’s insufficient efforts to protect itself from cyber attacks [2]. The Biden administration has prioritized strengthening cybersecurity since taking office [2], but progress has been slow [2]. To address this, the memo requests agencies to provide a detailed plan for implementing the executive order by September [2].


The shift towards mandatory cybersecurity policies acknowledges the increasing threat of cybercrime and the potential catastrophic consequences of a cyber attack on critical infrastructure [1]. The pace of cyberattacks targeting the US government remains a concern [2], with a recent Chinese hacking campaign compromising the email accounts of high-ranking officials [2]. It is crucial for federal agencies to fully comply with the executive order and enhance their cybersecurity practices to mitigate these risks. The establishment of the Cyber Safety Review Board and the standardization of the federal government’s playbook for cybersecurity incidents will contribute to improved detection and response to vulnerabilities and incidents on government networks. The memo’s request for a detailed plan for implementation by September demonstrates the administration’s commitment to addressing the shortcomings and strengthening cybersecurity measures.