Security bosses to get forum

A proposed group for information security officers will take the form of a forum, and the CIO Council supports the idea, according to the federal e-government chief.

Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget's administrator for e-government and information technology, said a forum rather than a council will allow security officers to come together in a less formal setting to discuss issues surrounding information security.

"One of the things with a forum approach is it really is about having a cross-[agency] relationship with the people," Evans said. "A forum takes the formal aspect out of it."

In contrast, the CIO Council established in the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 follows a charter and has to develop an annual strategic plan.

Evans said she has been in discussions with Amit Yoran, director of the Homeland Security Department's National Cyber Security Division, who came up with the idea. Evans said they believe a forum approach would enable more face-to-face discussions and information exchanges, and she doesn't see anything standing in the way of making the forum a reality.

"I don't think there is anyone in the federal government [who] doesn't want a better cyberenvironment," Evans said. "I believe people would be willing to come and check it out and as they gain greater confidence, [Yoran] will then be able to achieve the results he wants."

The CIO Council, of which Evans is director, recognizes the need for the security officers' forum, she said.

"The CIO Council obviously is going to be supportive of this," she said. "This is to be able to move the government forward and deal with this overall cyber posture."

The best practices shared in the forum can feed into the CIO Council's best practices committee, and most security officers work for CIOs, making this another mechanism for information exchange, Evans said.

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