Update on Anticipated Appointment of a Cybersecurity Coordinator

Updates a prior post: Anticipated Appointment of “Cyber Czar” on May 29, 2009.

While President Obama has not yet identified the individual who will undertake the position of Cybersecurity Coordinator (which has been referred to recently as a “Cyber Czar”), he apparently confirmed during a meeting of government officials and corporate executives on May 29, 2009, that this individual will be appointed to the staff of both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. See Cam Simpson and August Cole, “Obama Moves to Curb Data-System Attacks,” The Wall Street Journal, at A9 (June 1, 2009) — You might need a subscription to The Wall Street Journal Online to view this article. As the Wall Street Journal put it, this individual will “effectively serve two masters.” Id. It will be interesting to see how effective this position will be, given the oversight by both agencies.

Related Links:

* President Obama’s remarks during the May 29, 2009 session, which provide a bit more information about the expected responsibilities to be assigned to the position:

“To give these efforts the high-level focus and attention they deserve — and as part of the new, single National Security Staff announced this week — I’m creating a new office here at the White House that will be led by the Cybersecurity Coordinator. Because of the critical importance of this work, I will personally select this official. I’ll depend on this official in all matters relating to cybersecurity, and this official will have my full support and regular access to me as we confront these challenges.

“Today, I want to focus on the important responsibilities this office will fulfill: orchestrating and integrating all cybersecurity policies for the government; working closely with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure agency budgets reflect those priorities; and, in the event of major cyber incident or attack, coordinating our response.

“To ensure that federal cyber policies enhance our security and our prosperity, my Cybersecurity Coordinator will be a member of the National Security Staff as well as the staff of my National Economic Council. To ensure that policies keep faith with our fundamental values, this office will also include an official with a portfolio specifically dedicated to safeguarding the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.” (Emphasis added)

* The report by Melissa Hathaway’s team was released to the public on May 29, 2009, and is available on the White House’s web site. There is also a brief discussion of her remarks during the May 29 meeting on the Briefing Room Blog.