Lawmaker urges Obama to appoint cybersecurity coordinator

Senior House lawmaker says the need is immediate

The chairwoman of a House subcommittee that oversees cybersecurity today called on President Barack Obama to quickly appoint a cybersecurity coordinator.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) said it was important to have a cybersecurity official in the White House with access to the president to ensure computer defense efforts are coordinated and disciplined. Clarke, chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology Subcommittee, made the comments during an event in Washington hosted by TechAmerica, a trade association that represents the technology industry.

“One of the things that my office is doing is really engaging the administration to really focus its attention on getting that cyber czar in place,” she said. “One of the things that I would ask is that you join and your offices join, your members join with me in really calling on the administration to give some real attention and focus to getting that person who is going to be held accountable” in place.

Obama said in May he would appoint such an adviser, and since speculation has grown over whom he would pick for the role and whether the official would have sufficient clout.

Last month the co-chairmen of the House Cybersecurity Caucus sent a letter urging Obama to quickly appoint a cybersecurity coordinator. Meanwhile, Clarke said the need for such an official is immediate because of threats facing the public and private sectors.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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