After what few probably realize was a tremendous amount of political posturing President Obama has finally appointed Howard Schmidt as US Cybersecurity Coordinator. Schmidt who also served as a cybersecurity adviser under President Bush will be responsible for establishing, defining and coordinating cybersecurity across public and private critical infrastructure. I have worked with Howard and know him to be a highly competent individual that will have a positive impact on this administrations Cybersecurity efforts. Congratulations Howard and best of luck in your new role!
There has been mixed reaction to the appointment. Some mention the lack of progress from previous administration attempts towards cybersecurity, of which Schmidt had been involved, others point to a general lack of clear direction by the President. I would caution those that are quick to criticize that change takes time and this administration is working under a very different set of dynamics than previous administrations. I would also suggest that all concerned become involved and help to shape the future of our country.
This is a positive move that will enable our government to better understand information security, it’s impact on our future, and hopefully drive the nation to implement and adopt more effective means for securing our critical infrastructure.
Here’s the full-text of the announcement email sent to the White House email list by John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism:
Cybersecurity matters to all of us. Protecting the internet is critical to our national security, public safety and our personal privacy and civil liberties. It’s also vital to President Obama’s efforts to strengthen our country, from the modernization of our health care system to the high-tech job creation central to our economic recovery.
The very email you are reading underscores our dependence on information technologies in this digital age, which is why it seemed like a fitting way to announce that the President has chosen Howard Schmidt to be the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator. Howard will have the important responsibility of orchestrating the many important cybersecurity activities across the government.
Howard is one of the world’s leading authorities on computer security, with some 40 years of experience in government, business and law enforcement. Learn more about Howard’s background and approach to cybersecurity.
Howard will have regular access to the President and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff. He will also work closely with his economic team to ensure that our cybersecurity efforts keep the Nation secure and prosperous.
Moving forward we will use WhiteHouse.gov, this email program and our other communications tools to keep you posted about our progress in this important area.
John O. Brennan
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
P.S. You can play an important role in cybersecurity as well. Learn more about the issue and steps you can take to ensure your own security.
you can hear Howard speak about the appointment in his own words (here)