Obama Taps Ex-Bushie, Howard Schmidt as Cybersecurity Head
December 22, 2009
(ChattahBox)— After months of delay and behind the scenes White House turf battles, President Obama has finally named Howard A. Schmidt to serve as the administration’s Cyber-Security Coordinator. Schmidt served under the Bush administration, as the special adviser for cyberspace security, until his retirement from public service in 2003, when he joined eBay as vice president and chief information security officer. Schmidt worked in the public sector for 31 years in various roles, and he also served in the Air Force from 1967 to 1983. The Obama administration is hailing Schmidt, as bringing a “unique background and skill sets,” to the newly created position.
The issue of cybersecurity was made a priority by President Obama during his campaign. And since he took office, Obama declared that the nation’s cyberspace networks were a “strategic national asset” and he launched a 60-day cyberspace policy review. The Pentagon also created a new “cyber-command” unit and the Department of Homeland Security was assigned the task of tightening up the security of the country’s networks.
Schmidt’s duties would include coordinating the various federal cybersecurity efforts for both military and civilian agencies.
Before his appointment, there was some griping about the role of the Cyber-Security Coordinator and whom he or she would report to. White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers insisted that he be included on the list of people the new coordinator report to, because cybersecurity impacts national economic security.
Schmidt will report to deputy national security adviser John O. Brennan and will “work closely with and collaborate with” the economic council on cyber-issues, according to an administration official.
Schmidt currently works as the president of the Information Security Forum, a nonprofit group that works to combat cybercrime and advises on cybersecurity issues.
See the Washington Post for more.