Cybersecurity coordinator chosen at State Department

Secretary Clinton picks a leader for the new Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has appointed Christopher Painter to head the new Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, which will coordinate cybersecurity and other cyber issues across the Department and with other agencies.

Painter, formerly senior director for cybersecurity at the National Security Council, brings 20 years of cybersecurity and cyber crime experience to the new office, Secretary Clinton said during a speech Feb. 16 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

A winner of Federal Computer Week’s Fed 100 Award for 2010, Painter served in the Justice Department's crime section before joining the administration’s National Security staff.

Painter will lead State’s engagement on cyber issues, “including efforts to protect a critical part of diplomacy – the confidentiality of communications between and among governments,” according to the description of the job in the Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review issued in December 2010, which established the new office.

The protection of confidential communications has become increasingly critical to State’s mission in the wake of the publishing of 250,000 embassy cables on the WikiLeaks web site last November.

An industry group applauded the appointment.

“TechAmerica has long supported the need for a cyber lead at the U.S. Department of State for coordination and high-level diplomacy in this important and global issue,” said TechAmerica President and CEO Phil Bond.

“Painter is an excellent choice given his experience as part of the team that conducted and wrote the President’s Cyber Policy Review, his work as senior director for Cybersecurity at the National Security staff, and his years of global responsibility in the [Group of Eight countries] on combating cybercrime,” Bond said.

Painter will report to Clinton and will be guided by a cyber advisory council comprised of senior State officials. He will also serve as State’s primary liaison to the President’s Cybersecurity Coordinator for activities that involve cyber issues, and will serve as liaison to other federal agencies that work on cyber issues.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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