IT community celebrates leaders in government information security

Government information security professionals paid tribute to their community’s most accomplished leaders this week at an awards dinner highlighted by remarks from Rod Beckström, director of the National Cyber Security Center.

Beckström, in one of his first public appearances since being appointed by Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael Chertoff, emphasized the importance of understanding the fundamental economics of security. And he spoke about the lessons he learned pioneering the adoption of leaderless networks in the commercial world.

“The total cost of security,” needs to account not only for the cost of security investments, Beckström said, but also the costs associated with data losses, “actual and expected.”

“Those loss numbers are significant,” he said, and added that smarter upfront investments could significantly reduce those losses. In particular, Beckström suggested strengthening Internet protocols and Domain Name System Security Extensions. Some of those investments would “probably cost less than $5 million a year,” he said.

Beckström’s comments capped an evening where 200 government sector information security professionals recognized the outstanding work of their peers at the fifth annual Government Information Security Leadership Awards (GISLAs).

The 2008 GISLA winners are:

Pam Rusk, information systems security manager for the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Regions and Center Operations (ARC). Rusk won in the non-managerial IT security professional category for establishing information system security officer (ISSO) positions for the ARC organization in nine regions of the FAA.

Michael Williams, executive director, information technology and chief information officer (CIO)/director, Information Technology Customer Service Organization of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). Williams won in the senior non-managerial IT security professional category for ensuring that employees with security responsibilities obtain professional certification.

Adair Martinez, CISSP, PMP, deputy assistant secretary for information protection and risk management at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Martinez won in the senior IT security manager category for developing an agency-wide information security officer (ISO) training initiative.

Steven Busch, senior managing consultant with IBM Business Consulting Services. Busch won in the federal contractor IT security professional category for creating a program that is developing new, better educated and greater focused information security professionals at the DOD Defense-wide Information Assurance Program Office. The GISLAs are sponsored by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, a nonprofit group devoted to certifying information security professionals.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.


  • FCW Perspectives
    remote workers (elenabsl/

    Post-pandemic IT leadership

    The rush to maximum telework did more than showcase the importance of IT -- it also forced them to rethink their own operations.

  • Management
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    Where does the TMF Board go from here?

    With a $1 billion cash infusion, relaxed repayment guidelines and a surge in proposals from federal agencies, questions have been raised about whether the board overseeing the Technology Modernization Fund has been scaled to cope with its newfound popularity.

Stay Connected