The Obama administration is poised to appoint Howard Schmidt, a veteran IT security adviser in both business and government, as chief adviser to the president on cybersecurity policy.
President Obama announced the creation of the ‘cyber coordinator’ post back in May 2009, during a speech in which he said that “America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity”.
The responsibilities of the role, he said, would include “orchestrating and integrating all cybersecurity policies for the government; working … to ensure agency budgets reflect those priorities; and, in the event of major cyber incident or attack, coordinating our response.”
Since then, a number of security industry figures have been linked to the role, including Microsoft’s security chief Scott Varney and Symantec chairman John W Thompson. These figures reportedly declined the role, however. The news of Schmidt’s imminent appointment appear in the Washington Post newspaper today.
Since his time as security chief security officer at online gambling site eBay and cyber security adviser to the Bush administration, Schmidt has been an active participant in the information security community, raising awareness of the realities of cyber crime and international cybersecurity, while also discouraging hyperbole.
Speaking at Information Age’s Enterprise Security event in 2008, Schmidt said: “You can get too fearful. [Cyber criminals] are not super-human, and we can put the processes there to protect organisations. I think we’ll get there.”