[ISN] Feds eye new cybersecurity post
isn at c4i.org
Tue May 17 01:56:30 EDT 2005
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
May 16, 2005
For the last few years, it hasn't always been clear who in the U.S.
government is responsible for overseeing national "cybersecurity"
efforts--and how long that person will stick around.
First there was Richard Clarke, a veteran of the Clinton and first
Bush administrations who cashed out with a lucrative book deal. Clarke
effectively was succeeded in quick succession by Howard Schmidt, known
for testifying in favor of the Communications Decency Act, then Amit
Yoran and Robert Liscouski.
Now Congress may try to quell some of the turmoil over at the
Department of Homeland Security by creating a more prestigious post.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin
deliberating a proposal for an assistant secretary for cybersecurity.
The position, long a favorite of congressional security hawks, would
require an appointment by the president and confirmation by Congress.
Whoever fills it will be responsible for coordinating with other
federal agencies, some of which have had spotty records in the past.
In a recent interview with CNET News.com, Rep. Chris Cox, a California
Republican, said today's cybersecurity post needs a promotion. "That's
of course something that we have been pushing hard for in the Homeland
Security committee over the last two years, elevating the profile of
cyber inside the Department of Homeland Security and inside the
federal government." Repairs under way for server speed tests
According to the House bill, the assistant secretary would be charged
with creating a "national cybersecurity response system" that would
evaluate U.S. critical infrastructure and "aid in the detection and
warning of attacks" on it.
Currently the department's chief cybersecurity official is a
low-to-mid-level official who is two levels of bureaucracy removed
from Secretary Michael Chertoff. An assistant secretary would have
more access to Chertoff.
The assistant secretary proposal is part of a broader homeland
security bill for the 2006 fiscal year. It also requires the
department to establish a National Terrorism Exercise Program to
"prevent" and "recover from" terrorist acts, including cybersecurity
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