Group wants government cybersecurity CEO

A group of senior professionals from the defense, intelligence, national security and telecommunications industries recommends that the Obama administration create a single position at the White House level to align policy, laws and resources for cybersecurity.

The recommendation was one of the cybersecurity policy suggestions that an industry task force organized by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) recently gave the Obama administration. The group’s recommendations include what the professionals think the government’s role in protecting critical and private sector information networks should be, what an ideal public/private partnership for the effort would involve, and suggestions regarding the Internet’s architecture and structure.

In addition to a single senior cybersecurity official, the INSA task force recommended that the government:
  • Clarify the roles, missions and responsibilities in critical infrastructure protection.
  • Establish a better working relationship with the private sector for cybersecurity efforts.
  • Develop a national plan to recover from a cyberattack.
  • Improve information sharing in order to improve analysis and efforts to attribute cyberattacks.
  • Work internationally to preserve the current Internet governance system.
  • Build a public/private partnership that involves the federal executive and legislative branches along with state and local officials.
Frank Blanco, INSA’s executive vice president, said Melissa Hathaway, who is leading the Obama administration’s current 60-day review of the country’s cybersecurity, had requested the assessment and received the recommendations April 2. The task force’s recommendations were made public April 6.

Although INSA is a professional association with members from both government and industry, the recommendations came exclusively from the private sector.

Administration officials have said the 60-day review, expected to conclude April 17, has involved extensive suggestions from the private sector. The officials say the review will lead to an action plan and public/private partnership for future cybersecurity efforts.

Meanwhile, a bill in the Senate also calls for creating a senior cybersecurity position in the White House and the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency made a similar recommendation. Although administration officials have said the White House will lead cybersecurity policy formulation and coordinate interagency efforts, it is not clear if a new office on cybersecurity will be created.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 23, 2009 Patria Woodbridge,va

It is not clear why we need a new cyber command. Why can't the duties of the existing organizaing be stremlined to support the Nations Cyber shortfalls. We need to know what the current responsibilities are of these organization and we need to consider shifting their roles to accomodate the New Cyber Mission. Organizational structure should only be considered as a last resort to resolved problems; often new organizational structure brings a new layer of red tape. I spent 30years in the military serving as a signal officer and just retired last year 2008.. and I was often told we need to do more with less.What makes our situation different when it comes to discussing how we will secure the Nations Critical Infrastructure. Lack of vision, direction and understanding of the problem. Well, this is no reason to create a new organization.. The first step is id role, mission and resp of the various agencies and cross walk the roles, resp, and mission to that of the Critical Instructure. I think we got things a bit backward.

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