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President Obama is urging his Republican successor to consider recommendations issued Friday by a special commission that has spent months determining how the U.S. can best combat cyber-based threats.

In February, the White House assembled the Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, a group of 12 leading cybersecurity and privacy experts who were asked to compile a report for both Obama and the incoming administration containing guidance on cybersecurity initiatives and infrastructure protection. Tom Donilon, Obama’s former national security adviser, led the commission.

In a lengthy statement released Friday afternoon, Obama said the commission’s final report recognized his administration’s progress on the cybersecurity front while also “[making] clear that there is much more to do and the next administration, Congress, the private sector, and the general public need to build on this progress.”

“The commission’s recommendations are thoughtful and pragmatic,” Obama said. “Importantly though, I believe that the next administration and the next Congress can benefit from the commission’s insights and should use the commission’s recommendations as a guide.”



Obama said he asked the commission to brief President-elect Trump and his transition team on the report “at their earliest opportunity.”

The commission’s 100-page report called for government agencies at the local, state and federal level to better equip themselves “to function effectively and securely in the digital age” while highlighting major cybersecurity challenges they currently face.

“Malicious actors continue to benefit from organizations’ and individuals’ reluctance to prioritize basic cybersecurity activities and their indifference to cybersecurity practices,” the report stated.

The White House had previously proposed a 37 percent increase in cybersecurity resources in FY 2017, though Congress declined to consider the request.

“This isn’t something the president plans to take his eye off the ball on,” deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters on Friday.

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Additionally, the commission encouraged the current and incoming administration to partner with private sector companies to develop “a roadmap for improving the security of digital networks” and “implement a new model for how to defend and secure” existing information technology systems.

“The President should create, through executive order, the National Cybersecurity Private-Public Program as a forum for addressing cybersecurity issues through a high-level, joint public-private collaboration,” the report stated.

Trump, who many claim benefited from cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee during the election, has previously said protecting Americans from major cybersecurity breaches will be a “major priority” of his administration. However, some security experts worried about his understanding of the issue and the digital threats facing the U.S. after he referred to cybersecurity as “the cyber” during the first presidential debate.

Former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden told the Christian Science Monitor last month that he does not believe cybersecurity will improve under the Trump administration “because the president-elect himself has shown no interest in understanding the issue.”

Trump transition officials did not immediately react to the commission’s report on Friday, nor did they respond to pressure from the White House to accept the recommendations going forward.

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Obama said the report demonstrated that Americans “have the opportunity to change the balance further in our favor in cyberspace — but only if we take additional bold action to do so.”

“[I]t is time for the next administration to take up this charge and ensure that cyberspace can continue to be the driver for prosperity, innovation and change both in the United States and around the world,” the president said.

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