Inside the Cyberspace Solarium Commission


The Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) was established in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 to “develop a consensus on a strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace against cyber attacks of significant consequences.” The finished report was presented to the public on March 11, 2020.

The Commission’s report included over 80 recommendations focused on six pillars:

  1. Reform the U.S. Government’s Structure and Organization for Cyberspace.
  2. Strengthen Norms and Non-Military Tools.
  3. Promote National Resilience.
  4. Reshape the Cyber Ecosystem.
  5. Operationalize Cybersecurity Collaboration with the Private Sector.
  6. Preserve and Employ the Military Instrument of National Power.

NSI was excited to host an event about the Commission and its report featuring introductory remarks from:

Senator Angus King (I-ME), Co-Chair, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

Mark Montgomery, Executive Director, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

And a panel examining the Report’s recommendations, including how they defend the United States in cyberspace and how they can be implemented in the future featuring:

Tatyana Bolton, Policy Director, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

John Costello, Senior Director Task Force Two Lead, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

Ali King, Strategic Communications and Congressional Advisor, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

Brandon Valeriano, Senior Advisor, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

Moderated By Jamil N. Jaffer, NSI Founder and Executive Director

Senator Angus King (I-ME) was sworn in as Maine’s first Independent United States Senator, filling the same seat once held by storied Maine leaders Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell, and Olympia Snowe. Now in his second term, Senator King is a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the Committee on Rules and Administration.  In his time in the Senate, Senator King has worked to strengthen America’s national security, conducted critical oversight of the nation’s Intelligence Community, supported common-sense budget priorities that promote prosperity, fought the national opioid and heroin epidemic, coordinated efforts to revitalize Maine’s forest economy, advocated for policies that contribute to cleaner, cheaper energy and mitigate climate change, chaired hearings on the corrosive effect of unchecked money in politics, fought to improve access to health care, worked to strengthen the government’s support of veterans, and promoted increased access to critical community resources like rural broadband.


Mark Montgomery serves as the Executive Director of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. He most recently served as Policy Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee under the leadership of Senator John S. McCain. In this position he coordinated policy efforts on national defense strategy, capabilities and requirements, defense policy and cyber issues. Mark served for 32 years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear trained surface warfare officer, retiring as a Rear Admiral in 2017. His flag officer assignments included Director of Operations (J3) at U. S. Pacific Command; Commander of Carrier Strike Group 5 embarked on the USS George Washington stationed in Japan; and Deputy Director, Plans, Policy and Strategy (J5), at U. S. European Command. He was selected as a White House Fellow and assigned to the National Security Council, serving as Director for Transnational Threats from 1998-2000. Mark graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in history from Oxford University, and completed the U.S. Navy’s nuclear power training program.


Tatyana Bolton serves as a policy director at the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.  She was detailed to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission from the Department of Homeland Security where she serves as a Cyber Policy Lead – Senior Policy Analyst.  Previously she has worked at the U.S. Navy as a contracting specialist and at Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc as a Program Analyst.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Georgetown University.


John Costello is a Senior Director and Lead, Task Force Two for the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. John is currently appointed as the Senior Advisor to the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and previously served as the Director of Strategy, Policy, and Plans and the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Cybersecurity and Communications. Prior to his work at DHS, John served as Congressional Innovation Fellow at U.S House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. As a member of the U.S. Navy, John served in various positions within the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. John is fluent in Chinese Mandarin and graduated with honors from the Defense Language Institute.


Ali King currently serves as a Strategic Communications and Congressional Advisor to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.  Previously she was a Department of Defense Legislative Fellow within the office of Representative Mike Gallagher, where she worked on legislation and oversight activities related to the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Interior.  Prior to her fellowship, she worked within the US Navy, as a consultant for Deloitte, and as a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton.  She holds an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and a MS in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution and a BA in International Relations and Affairs from George Mason University.


Brandon Valeriano is a Senior Advisor to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.  Currently, he serves as the Donald Bren Chair of Military Innovation at the Marine Corps University (MCU) and as a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.   Previously, he served as a Senior Fellow a the Atlantic Council, as a reader at Cardiff University and as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow.  He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Government from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Whittier College.


Jamil N. Jaffer is the Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute, and an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the National Security Law & Policy Program at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.  Mr. Jaffer is also the Vice President for Strategy, Partnerships & Corporate Development at IronNet Cybersecurity, a technology products startup founded by Gen (ret.) Keith B. Alexander.  In addition, he is an advisor to Beacon Global Strategies, a strategic advisory firm; 4iQ, a deep and dark web intelligence startup; Duco, a technology platform startup that connects corporations with geopolitical and international business experts; and Amber, a digital authentication and verification startup.  Prior to his current positions, Mr. Jaffer served on Capitol Hill in a variety of roles, including on the leadership team of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as a senior staff member of the House Intelligence Committee.  He also previously served in the Bush Administration and as a law clerk to Justice Neil M. Gorsuch of the U.S. Supreme Court.