Counterpoint: The need for a cybersecurity czar is real

From Core Security (Tom Kellermann)
As everyone prepares to examine the results of the Obama Administration’s cyber-security review, one of the largest issues in play remains to what extent the White House will embrace recommendations to create a Cabinet-level position to address the matter or some role superior to today’s “cyber czar” post.
Having participated in the CSIS Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency, it won’t surprise you that I support that concept, as one of the major recommendations suggested by the Commission – constituted of stakeholders from a wide range of public and private interests – was to do so.

As everyone prepares to examine the results of the Obama Administration’s cyber-security review, one of the largest issues in play remains to what extent the White House will embrace recommendations to create a Cabinet-level position to address the matter or some role superior to today’s “cyber czar” post.

Having participated in the CSIS Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency, it won’t surprise you that I support that concept, as one of the major recommendations suggested by the Commission – constituted of stakeholders from a wide range of public and private interests – was to do so.

As people scrutinize the recommendations the White House may recognize, it’s natural, even beneficial, that some observers – including influential members of the IT security community – question whether naming a more prominent government cyber-security chief will help improve the nation’s ability to deal with the critical challenges it faces.

In a recent interview with Threatpost news service, Bruce Schneier, an industry beacon and the Chief Security Technology Officer of BT, said it would be more effective for the U.S. government to operate without a “top-down hierarchy,” as “our economic and political systems work best when there isn’t a dictator in charge.”

I’d propose that “dictator” might be a bit strong, given that all of our most important national interests are currently represented by leaders as in the case of the President’s Cabinet. However, I think it’s an unquestionably valid point that in many cases adding bureaucracy can get in the way of progress.

Schneier also suggests to Threatpost that the NSA, or any other individual agency, shouldn’t be granted a majority influence, and cites the fact that existing efforts to lead cyber-security under the cyber czar role have failed primarily based on insufficient funding.

You can read the rest of Kellermann’s post here

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