After spending much of Tuesday preparing to sign an executive order aimed at improving the federal government’s cybersecurity defenses, President Donald Trump postponed the plan at the last minute, according to the White House.
Trump met with cybersecurity experts and top White House officials earlier Tuesday to discuss the order.
“I will hold my Cabinet secretaries and agency heads accountable, totally accountable for the cybersecurity of their organizations which we probably don’t have as much, certainly not as much as we need,” the president said before the meeting.
It’s unclear what caused him to scrap the plans.
A draft of the measure, obtained by the Washington Post, shows the Office of Management and Budget would lead the review of security risks in the government’s executive branch, while department and agency heads were directed to create their own best practices.
Agency heads would be required to update their current systems and work with the private sector to create and implement best practices.
“The executive order is the first step the president is taking to address new security challenges of the 21st century,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.
The measure defined cyberspace as undergoing constant developments, and compares the U.S. government’s responsibility to protect it as it does with “land, sea, air, and space.”
The Department of Defense would lead a review to determine vulnerability in the nation’s national security systems while the Department of National Intelligence would be directed to conduct a review of cyber adversaries to the U.S.
A review into STEM and cyber security education would also be conducted under the order, “to ensure that the United States has a long-term cyber capability advantage.” The Defense Secretary would head the review and recommend changes.
The move comes after several reports of hacking during the election. Earlier this month, the Department of National Intelligence concluded that Russia had led a campaign of cyberattacks aimed at getting Trump in the White House. A report released by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI in December reached the same conclusion.
The FBI played a significant role in cybersecurity efforts under President Obama, but appears to have been left out in the draft of Trump’s executive order.