'Czar' Prospect on Federal Cybersecurity

'Czar' Prospect on Federal Cybersecurity
'Czar' Prospect on Federal Cybersecurity 

By Eric Chabrow
Managing Editor
Gov Info Security
August 11, 2009

What's most important about the job of presidential cybersecurity 
coordinator isn't whether or not it reports to two bosses or how high on 
the White House organizational chart it appears or, for that matter, 
when President Obama will reveal his choice, says cybersecurity sage 
Howard Schmidt.

"The two key things that we need to worry about here is one, first and 
foremost, and that is the fact that this is a presidential imperative 
and the president recognizes that we have to do this right and we just 
can't go out and sort of fill this for the sake of meeting some 
particular deadline," Schmidt says, in an interview with (transcript below).

Seeing the fundamentals in a situation is a strong characteristic that 
has placed Schmidt on nearly every list of a prospective White House 
cybersecurity czar. In the field of IT security, Schmidt has done it 

He spent more than 30 years in public service, including a stint as a 
White House special adviser on cyberspace security and as chief 
strategist for the US-CERT Partners Program at Homeland Security. He 
serves on an IT privacy board that advises the National Institute of 
Standards and Technology, the Commerce Department and White House.

In the private sector, Schmidt has held top IT security posts at 
Microsoft and eBay. An author of two IT security books, Schmidt has 
academic affiliations with Georgia Institute of Technology, Carnegie 
Mellon and Idaho State University.

Schmidt is the first and current president of the Information Security 
Forum, an independent, not-for-profit association aimed harnessing the 
brainpower of public and private-sector experts in IT security and risk 

In an interview with's Eric Chabrow, Schmidt 
discusses the:

* Crucial role Obama's cybersecurity coordinator will play in managing 
  federal IT security policy.

* Challenges the federal government faces in developing a cybersecurity 

* Providing IT security with limited funds due to the recession.

* Need for international cooperation in battling cyber threats.

Eric Chabrow, managing editor, interviewed Schmidt.


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