What’s ahead for WH cybersecurity ‘czar’

Three men with different perspectives on the White House cybersecurity \'czar\' weigh in on the impending nomination. One, former Virginia Congressman Tom Davis...


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Former congressman Tom Davis, now the director for Federal Government Affairs for Deloitte, appearing at yesterday’s National Press Club discussion about cybersecurity sponsored by the Harris Corporation:

The good news for whoever is named cybersecurity czar is that they won’t have to be Senate confirmed. So they don’t have to worry about paying their taxes, and they can hit the ground running immediately. The real question is how much authority are they going to have? You have a lot of czars, a lot of competing interest within the government. What is your ability to deal with all the stovepipes that have been set up?

Dale Meyerrose, the former Chief Information Officer for the Intelligence Community, now a vice president of Cyber Programs for Harris Corporation, says the White House cybersecurity czar has three fundamental issues facing him or her:

First is, work on the authorities (i.e., responsibilities, etc.); Second, when you add a new position within the Executive branch, there has to be an accommodation of process. You have to get into the information flow. You have to get into meetings. Third, you need an agenda, something that works for you.

James Bamford, a noted author and journalist who has covered cybersecurity and the intelligence community, has issues with what he considers a vague White House proposal for a weak cybersecurity coordinator subservient to a military/intelligence dominated cybercommander.

What you have is a very powerful player in the cyberdomain, the director of NSA, against the fairly weakened cybersecurity coordinator. It presents quite a dilemma in terms of civil liberties.

While Davis is rumored to be in the running for the job, he tells FederalNewsRadio that after 29 years of service in Fairfax County and in Congress, he’s happy to be out of government on what he calls his “hiatus”. “You never say ‘never’ when it comes to service with me,” he said, drawing laughter as he added, “I was lucky enough to leave Congress undefeated and unindicted, and sometimes, it’s good to leave on top.”

He is currently not seeking the job of White House cybersecurity czar.

On the Web:

FederalNewsRadio – Tom Davis: Defense acquisition keys to success
FederalNewsRadio – Administration shows renewed sense of cyber-urgency
Emptywheel blog – Why Tom Davis Shouldn’t Be Obama’s Cyberczar

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