The field of cybersecurity is becoming increasingly relevant to discussions on national security.
President Barack Obama placed cybersecurity in the forefront of his national security policy. In his speech May 29, 2009, Obama stated: “From now on, our digital infrastructure…will be treated as they should be: as a strategic security asset. Protecting this infrastructure will be a national security priority.”
And Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, announced recently cybersecurity was one of the major focuses of the Intelligence Community in the coming years.
The New New Internet has compiled a list of 10 Cybersecurity Game Changers to Watch. Spanning government and think tanks, these individuals will have a significant impact on the discussions and policies surrounding cybersecurity in the United States in 2010.
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander of NSA
As the director of the National Security Agency, Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander commands the largest government agency focused on cyber issues. In a speech before the House Armed Services Committee, Alexander stated “Cyberspace is a uniquely complex domain absolutely vital to the nation,” and “Maintaining freedom of action in cyberspace in the 21st century is … inherent to U.S. interests.” The agency has a history of tension with technology developments in the private sector and how Alexander handles some of those issues will greatly influence the role the private sector is able to play in securing cyberspace. Nevertheless, it is clear Alexander recognizes the central role the private sector must play in securing the national infrastructure in cyberspace.
Robert Carey of the Navy
In his post as chief information officer, Robert Carey serves as the point person for IT management and technology for the Department of the Navy. He ensures that all new systems and services work with current systems and serve the direction and needs of the Navy. Carey also posts monthly on his blog on IT and security-related issues as they pertain to the Navy and DoD. According to Carey, his office works closely with DoD entities to help secure cyberspace. Carey stays at the forefront of current debates related to cybersecurity and continues to be an accessible voice in the government. His informative and plain language connections are critical to following and navigating the inner workings and thoughts regarding cybersecurity in the government realm.
Despite having resigned in August 2009 from the post of acting senior director of cyberspace, Melissa Hathaway continues to be a leader in calling for improved cybersecurity to strengthen the nation’s critical infrastructure. As acting director, Hathaway headed the White House’s 60-Day Cyberspace Policy Review that called for increased cooperation between the government and the private sector to develop sound strategies for securing the critical infrastructure in cyberspace. Hathaway remains a key player in the debate, and recently spoke at the ArcSight Protect 09 conference. During her speech, Hathaway outlined the increasing bipartisan support for cybersecurity while also pointing to a number of issues that still need to be addressed. Based on her work in two administrations, Hathaway is now a national figure and possesses a platform for pushing the cyber debate in her areas of interest. Her wealth of experience and insight will continue to be sought by government and private sector alike as both look to provide better security in cyberspace.
Vivek Kundra of the White House
In the position of the federal chief information officer, Vivek Kundra oversees the $70 billion budget for information technology and is tasked with ensuring government interoperability of IT systems. Kundra recently pushed the movement of government systems into cloud computing (apps.gov) and believes the government can and should play an integral role in leading technology innovation. This extends to cybersecurity, where Kundra believes the federal government must look beyond its traditional narrow focus on cybersecurity in the government space and extend that focus into the private sector as well. He is also on the search committee for the position of “cyber czar.” He will be a driving and vocal voice in the role the government will play in securing government-related information throughout cyberspace.
Robert Lentz of DoD
Robert Lentz serves as the chief information assurance officer for the DoD, where he coordinates information assurance programs across the department. In a recent interview conducted by ExecutiveBiz, Lentz outlined the main areas of focus for cybersecurity at the DOD. Lentz stated “the goal is to work with industry…” and build private-government partnerships to help secure cyberspace. He also believes industry needs to focus on “user-friendly, adaptive technologies,” common specifications, and long-term research. Lentz’s ability to effectively build a partnership with the private sector will have a significant impact on contractor support for DoD cybersecurity.
Jim Lewis of CSIS
As far as Washington think tanks run, the Center for Strategic and International Studies is one of the premier discussants on policy issues involving national security. Since becoming a senior fellow at CSIS in 2001, Jim Lewis has been an active voice in the discussions surrounding cybersecurity and his expertise is sough by government and private sector alike. Lewis has testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Cyber Security and served as the project director for the CSIS Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, which was well received by the government and private sector alike. In interviews with ExecutiveBiz, Lewis has highlighted the role the private sector can play in securing cyberspace and that ultimately the coordination of cybersecurity must come from the White House. No matter what the future direction of cybersecurity is, Lewis will clearly be a central voice in the debate.
Lt. Gen. William Lord of Air Force
As the chief of warfighting integration and chief information officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Lt. Gen. William Lord is a firm believer in the centrality of cyberspace to the future of warfare. Lord controls an operating budget of approximately $17 billion, and his five directorates and two agencies include civilians, military personnel, and contractors. He is responsible for integrating and networking the Air Forces combat capabilities and developing a coherent policy on information and communications throughout the Air Force. Lord recently discussed the need for a flexible command structure in cybersecurity and that the Air Force needs to move toward acquiring needed technologies quicker to remain competitive in cyberspace. His guidance and leadership will have a significant impact on the direction of cybersecurity for the Air Force.
As part of his responsibilities as the Director of the National Cybersecurity Center at DHS, Phil Reitinger recognizes the central role that skilled people, ie IT professionals, will play in the effort to secure cyberspace. He places a high premium on forming and solidifying effective partnerships between the government and the private sector. In an interview with InformationWeek, Reitinger stated he “want[s] to build cybersecurity into the DNA of the infrastructure,…businesses,…[and]…government entities.” Reitinger’s role at the Cybersecurity Center will have a significant impact on government-private partnerships to secure cyberspace. If Reitinger follows through on his proposed efforts, his participation will help to increase the security of critical infrastructure in cyberspace.
As the assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, Greg Schaffer is responsible for effectively partnering the public and private sectors, along with the international community, to secure the U.S. cyber infrastructure. In an interview with Federal News Radio, Schaffer highlighted the necessity of being as transparent as possible while maintaining security. His approach will greatly influence the role of the private sector in the national cybersecurity effort. In a recent discussion with Federal Executive Forum, Schaffer stated that one of his key goals was “working with the public and the private sector to advance cybersecurity interests.” Schaffer’s coordination with the private sector could be a driving factor in helping to secure the dot-com space in the coming years.
Edward Seidel of National Science Foundation
A trained astro-physicist and professor at Louisiana State University, Edward Seidel took over the post of director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at NSF from Dan Atkins, who has moved to the University of Michigan. As director, Seidel oversees the process of providing grants to researchers studying information technology in an effort to provide top of the line cyber-infrastructure systems. As such, he sits in a position that is central to driving innovative thinking and advances in cybersecurity. NSF has provided research grants to a number of research centers, including the University of Texas San Antonio and University of Maryland, both of whom made the Top 10 University list compiled by The New New Internet. Seidel is a key figure in helping to expand research and education efforts on cybersecurity in the future.
Tell us what you think: Whom would you add to the list of Cybersecurity Game Changers to Watch?