President Obama has chosen Howard Schmidt as the nation’s first cybersecurity coordinator.
A debate continues to simmer in Congress over whether a White House cyber coordinator actually is needed, although Schmidt’s position does not require Senate confirmation.
In a video posted on the White House Website, Schmidt said his top goals are:
>> developing a comprehensive strategy to secure U.S. networks;
>> ensuring an organized, unified response to future cyber incidents;
>> strengthening public and private partnerships in the United States, as well as international partnerships;
>> promoting research and development of new technologies; and
>> leading a national campaign to promote cybersecurity awareness and education.
Tom Talleur, who spent 31 years as a federal criminal investigator with NASA and the Defense Department, told Nextgov that government cybersecurity needs radical improvement:
“The government has never dealt with cybersecurity in a coordinated manner, never had the right leadership at the top. Typically, they hire some policy wonk that doesn’t really understand the guts of the issue or have the authority to do the job. Until the president himself says this is the way we’re going to deal with this — like he’s doing with health care — nothing will happen. And by then, it will be too late. We’re not thinking in terms of what will happen 10 and 20 years from now; we’re just focused on what will happen tomorrow.”