Kundra picks up cybersecurity mantle

The Obama administration’s plans to review government cybersecurity gained a new champion with the appointment of Vivek Kundra as federal chief information officer.

The Office of Management and Budget last week released an annual report on agencies’ implementation of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and said OMB will will assess the metrics agencies report to show their compliance with that law. OMB also said it might develop new metrics to improve information security.

Kundra, also serving as OMB administrator for e-government and information technology, picked up the charge immediately. On the day he was appointed, he told reporters that the government needs to shed the mentality that reports and processes are the most important aspects of cybersecurity. Instead, he said, the focus needs to be on the fundamental security of “what I call the engine for the modern economy when it comes to cyber infrastructure.”

FISMA's critics have argued that agencies' compliance with the law can too easily become a matter of filling out the paperwork to document rote compliance rather than implementing effective security measures.

The government needs to think through cybersecurity in a broader context, Kundra said. The administration needs to consider how the government self-organizes, especially given that much of the government's processes and data flows through private infrastructure as well as the government.

It is important, he said, “that we look at these reports and think of them beyond just the federal government.”

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1986, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group