Howard Schmidt, Cybersecurity Coordinator of the Obama Administration
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When President Obama last month named Howard Schmidt to be the nation's cybersecurity coordinator, he filled a gap in the federal government's cybersecurity command structure. Schmidt joins a group IT decisions makers who share responsibility for keeping Uncle Sam's systems, information, and IT infrastructure safe from threats that are growing in number and sophistication.
U.S. cybersecurity leadership is in transition. In the eight months since Obama disclosed plans to appoint a cybersecurity coordinator, there have been several significant departures from government, including Melissa Hathaway, the White House official whose study paved the way for the announcement, and Mischel Kwon, the former director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness team.
Many agencies and organizations have a role in the government-wide effort to bolster cyber defenses. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is in charge of cybersecurity compliance guidance for federal agencies. The Office of Management and Budget and Congress are highly influential in establishing cybersecurity policy. The National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and new U.S. Cyber Command are helping to protect both civilian and military networks.
Within each of those organizations, officials such as DHS deputy undersecretary Philip Reitinger are bringing new ideas -- and applying new pressure -- aimed at strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity. Reitinger, for example, has helped Homeland Security launch wide-ranging cybersecurity efforts that will bring hundreds more cybersecurity workers into the government over the next few years.
Who are other leading influencers in the federal government's cybersecurity efforts? They include Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, who has been nominated to be commander of the forthcoming U.S. Cyber Command, and Ron Ross, a senior computer scientist and information security researcher at NIST, who oversees the FISMA Implementation Project.
View our complete list of top U.S. cybersecurity officials here.
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