National security has long been a top priority of the White House, and as modern times introduce new threats and theaters of battle, the government has involved in tandem. So now, for the first time in history, the U.S. has named a Federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), who will be tasked with driving “cybersecurity policy, planning, and implementation across the Federal Government.” And the recipient of this lofty new title? Brigadier General (retired) Gregory J. Touhill.
The creation of the position comes seven months after President Barack Obama introduced a Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP), which aims to “improve our cybersecurity posture within the Federal Government and across the country.” And now, the CISO will bear the responsibility of furthering these goals. General Touhill certainly seems well-positioned to do so, as he previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, where he sought to develop and implement operational programs that protect government networks and critical infrastructure.
In his new role, Touhill is expected to “leverage his considerable experience in managing a range of complex and diverse technical solutions at scale with his strong knowledge of both civilian and military best practices, capabilities, and human capital training, development, and retention strategies,” the White House said in its announcement.
Over the last several months, the Obama administration has shown its dedication to leveraging and working alongside technical talent to improve national security, even meeting with top executives in Silicon Valley to discuss the sector’s role in fighting foreign and domestic threats. “Strong cybersecurity depends on robust policies, secure networks and systems and, importantly, a cadre of highly skilled cybersecurity talent,” the White House said. “Building on the Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy to identify, recruit, and retain top talent, the CISO will play a central role in helping to ensure the right set of policies, strategies, and practices are adopted across agencies and keeping the Federal Government at the leading edge of 21st century cybersecurity.”