Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Howard Schmidt as cybersecurity coordinator

Howard A. Schmidt, who was a cyber-adviser in President George W. Bush's White House, will be Obama's new cybersecurity coordinator, an administration official said Monday night.

The mission is challenging: to coordinate cybersecurity policy across the federal government, from the military to civilian agencies. Schmidt's appointment comes as the Pentagon launches a major new "cyber-command" unit up and running and the Department of Homeland Security works to improve protection of civilian networks.

In May, Obama declared the nation's digital networks a "strategic national asset" and said protecting them would be a "national security priority." Creating a White House cybersecurity office, run by a senior White House official, would be key to that effort, he said. "I'll depend on this official in all matters relating to cybersecurity, and this official will have my full support and regular access to me as we confront these challenges," Obama said from the East Room.

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