The United States Department of Justice is establishing a new task force meant to combat the "global cyber threat," the federal agency announced Tuesday. The creation of the division has been ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with the unit itself being referred to as the DOJ's "Cyber-Digital Task Force." The scope of its activities has yet to be explained in great detail but should be focused on gathering and analyzing information, in addition to creating proposals for increasing the effectiveness of the DOJ's cybersecurity efforts. The division will be chaired by a senior DOJ official that has yet to be appointed by the Deputy Attorney General, whereas its board will also include representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office and various government agencies including the FBI, NSD, ATF, DEA, and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The Deputy Attorney General has the right to form additional subcommittees and task forces meant to collaborate with the newly established division or allow it to specialize in certain activities at a later date but it's still unclear whether any plans for doing so presently exist. The task force will issue its first cybersecurity report to Mr. Sessions by June 30, the DOJ said. The size of the new unit remains undisclosed, though its first mission has already been given by Mr. Sessions who explicitly asked it to investigate efforts of any parties looking to interfere with the U.S. elections or critical infrastructure, or use the Internet for illegal purposes such as stealing personal data or attempting to spread radical ideologies. The unit should also focus on any use cases of technology meant to prevent law enforcement officials from doing their job in any capacity, as per the Attorney General's request.
The establishment of the task force comes shortly after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for an international rulebook regulating cyber warfare and a number of world leaders expressed their concerns in regards to NATO's ability to defend itself against a large-scale hacking attack powered by artificial intelligence solutions. "The malicious use of technology poses an unprecedented threat to our nation," Mr. Sessions wrote in a memo explaining the background of the newly given order. The task force's agenda is expected to be detailed this spring, likely even before the unit submits its first report to the Attorney General.