Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cyber Czar Position Still Unfilled

The Department of Homeland Security hasn't bothered to fill the congressionally mandated position of cyber security "czar."

(Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael) Chertoff made the announcement as part of a six-point agenda July 13, 2005, which identified elevating the position to an assistant Cabinet-level post as part of an overall strategy to "ensure that the department's policies, operations, and structures are aligned in the best way to address the potential threats -- both present and future."

That position remains unfilled.

A concerted push to appoint a single person in charge of national cyber security recovery began in Congress two years ago.

As part of a House cyber security subcommittee that was dissolved after the 108th Congress, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., helped draft and pass House legislation to create a cyber security czar with real power in Homeland Security.

Recently, Lofgren said the House inserted language in a bill to restructure the Federal Emergency Management Agency, requiring President Bush to nominate someone to the cyber czar job within 90 days.

"Nothing was getting done, and no one was paying attention," Lofgren said. "As a result, very little has happened to reduce our vulnerabilities."

Adding to the pressure is the release of a year-long study this week by the Business Roundtable.

"What we concluded is if there were a major cyber disruption, our nation would not be able to restore or rebuild the Internet," said Tita Freeman, director of communications for the group. "Our CEOs feel that the Internet is vital to the exchange of information that's vital to our nation's economic security and to our security in general."

Lofgren said having a cyber security czar who has a seat at the table during Cabinet meetings is critical for effective rebuilding of the Internet.

Paul Kurtz, executive director the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, agrees.

While Andy Purdy has been the acting director of the DHS National Cyber Security Division, Congress members and industry groups question whether he has the power or the background to handle the recovery of the Internet in a disaster...

"The department is incompetent," Lofgren said. "When you say no one is home (at Homeland Security) it's not a joke."

Richard Clarke, a former cyber-security adviser to presidents Bush and Clinton, said it is critical that Bush nominate a cyber security czar for Homeland Security.

"I think it's huge," he said. "I've talked to people in the private sector who say the federal government isn't serious about security because they haven't filled these positions. They talk a good game about cyber security, but they aren't serious about it."

The Homeland Security press office did not return phone calls seeking comment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The powers that be are no doubt waiting for the "right" (most deserving, best-fit) candidate... Too bad Kenny Boy died....


7/06/2006 3:05 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


You are doubtlessly correct. It has to be someone from one of the big defense tech companies, for sure. The appointee will be well situated to make sure that the contracts go to the right firms.

7/06/2006 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they're waiting for Randy to get out of jail?


7/06/2006 6:54 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...



"The Dukestir" won't be hitting the bricks for quite a while.

Methinks they can't wait that long.

7/06/2006 7:17 PM  

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