Industry group pushing for cybersecurity chief

A cybersecurity adviser in the White House would provide the coordinated and consistent approach industry needs to create and develop technology for the federal government, officials at the technology industry group TechAmerica said today.

The group supports provisions in the Information and Communication Enhancement bill introduced by Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), including naming a White House cybersecurity adviser. The bill would also update aspects of the Federal Information Security Management Act.

Today, there is no central leader to help agencies developed a consistent way to secure networks and information, said Phil Bond, TechAmerica’s president.

“This role would centralize the discussion and provide consistency,” Bond said. “We don’t want to have dozens or hundreds of different requirements from different agencies and offices.”

Unlike similar cybersecurity positions that existed in the past, this new White House adviser would have more access to the president, Bond said

Although each agency has different cybersecurity needs, a baseline of requirements would lead to a more consistent protection effort, said Trey Hodgkins, vice president of national security and procurement policy at TechAmerica.

In developing a cybersecurity baseline, the federal government should follow the model used with the new internet protocol, IPv6, he said.

“There is now a consistent IPv6 standard that National Institutes of Standards and Technology developed that became the baseline for the entire government, both [Defense Department] and civilian,” Hodgkins said. “Agencies may have to identify additional needs that can be layered on top of that baseline.”

The unified approach would lead to products that can be used across government, he said.

“I would say consistent and coordinated does equal identical solutions,” Bond said. “There are different levels of security, different concerns, different missions at each agency, but at least lets have a strategy that says this is how we are approaching security.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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