Congress Pressures Obama to Pick Cybersecurity Coordinator

cybersecurityOne of the many issues that President Obama is tackling is the security of our nation’s information infrastructure. Cybersecurity is a big issue for the President and his administration and steps are being taken to ensure that America is safe from cyber attacks.

Obama has promised to hand pick a cybersecurity coordinator for the federal government, but as of now that position is unfilled. Despite the fact that the important position of cybersecurity coordinator is unfilled, the government is moving on with other cybersecurity plans. The NSA recently announced that it would be spending $1.5 billion on a new cyber defense data center.

Obama has previously said that the cybersecurity coordinator is a position of “critical importance” to secure the U.S. cyber infrastructure. He said that the position would entail, “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.”

With the position remaining vacant, members of Congress are starting to press Obama for a choice. Co-chairmen of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, Representative James Langevin, D-R.I., and Michael McCaul, R-TX have said that they are “deeply concerned by the delay.” Representative Ann Kirkpatrick from Arizona has also urged the swift appointment of a cybersecurity coordinator.

InformationWeek reports that the problem with having no coordinator is that there is no nexus for government-wide cooperation and no authoritative voice to speak on issues and support the national cybersecurity initiatives. The position is being filled in the interim by Chris Painter, who is on loan to the White House from the FBI. Painter worked in cybercrime and cybersecurity issues at the FBI.

Names that are said to be in contention for the position according to sources include Microsoft’s Scott Charney, Frank Kramer, Howard Schmidt, and Paul Kurtz. Painter is also said to be in contention for the position as well.