Security forum members to meet in May

Members of a new public/private forum for government and industry security executives say they have wasted no time getting started on efforts to improve federal agencies' annual information security grades.

The forum, known as the Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) Exchange, will hold an advisory board meeting this month and its first membership meeting in May, Stephen O'Keeffe, the group’s executive director, announced today at the FOSE government information technology conference in Washington, D.C.

O'Keeffe said members have already begun talking with officials in the Government Accountability Office and with federal inspectors general about ways to raise the federal government’s overall security grade above a D-plus, which it received this year.

The CISO Exchange is a new model of a public/private partnership "designed to move the government forward in its information security posture," O'Keeffe said. The forum offers a venue for public- and private-sector CISOs to exchange ideas for strengthening their organizations’ information security policies, procedures and practices.

All funding for the forum will come from industry members, O'Keeffe said.

He introduced co-chairman, Vance Hitch, the Justice Department's chief information officer who is chairman of the CIO Council's Cyber Security and Privacy Committee, and co-chairwoman Melissa Wojciak, staff director of the Government Reform Committee.

The forum has six government advisory board members, who will serve one-year terms. They are Daniel Galik, chief security officer at the Internal Revenue Service, representing the Treasury Department; Dennis Heretick, Justice’s CISO; Robert Lentz, the Defense Department’s CISO; Jane Scott Norris, the State Department’s CISO; Lisa Schlosser, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s CIO; and Robert West, the Homeland Security Department’s CISO.

The advisory board will also have six industry members, including Austin Yerks, president of federal sector business development at Computer Sciences Corp., and Kenneth Ammon, president and co-founder of NetSec Government Solutions. Four additional advisory members have not been named.

O'Keeffe stressed that the forum will have a practical agenda. Its members plan to publish an annual report on federal information security priorities and operational issues and to host an awards dinner on the evening that Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) announces next year’s federal computer security report card grades.

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