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Melissa Hathaway: All is not lost on the cybersecurity front

Melissa Hathaway: All is not lost on the cybersecurity front - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Melissa Hathaway

melissa-hathawayThree months after President Obama promised “” and has yet to deliver on his word “” to appoint a cybersecurity czar, all is not lost on the cyber front. That was Melissa Hathaway’s takeaway in her first public speaking engagement since resigning as Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace on National Security Council and Homeland Security Council.

The talk, entitled, “Cyberspace “” The Next Frontier,” kicked off the ArcSight Protect 09 security conference the other day. Hathaway’s remarks come at a time when leading voices in cybersecurity have been delivering increasingly pointed critiques of the Obama administration for failing to appoint a cyber coordinator yet. In her talk, Hathaway moved beyond those critiques to highlight positive steps being taken by the federal government.

Bipartisan support growing

“We spent the last several years getting cybersecurity to the national forefront,” said Hathaway, according to internetnews.com. Hathaway also reportedly credited President Obama with helping elevate the issue in May when he gave a 20-minute speech on cybersecurity that coincided with the release of Hathaway’s report. In her ArcSight keynote, Hathaway added that Congress has at least 14 bills pending that address various aspects of cybersecurity, many of which have garnered bipartisan support. “You can see that there’s a lot of unity of effort up on the Hill,” she said.

More work needed

More work is needed, though. Hathaway outlined key gaps in cybersecurity (those details here). Meanwhile, members of Congress are becoming increasingly vocal about the White House’s response to cybersecurity. In a Sept. 10 letter to the White House, Reps. James Langevin and Michael McCaul, the co-chairs of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, stated: “We strongly believe that the continued absence of a permanent cyber-security coordinator impedes the ability of federal agencies to move forward in updating and strengthening their aging cyber-policies.” (Eric Chabrow of govinfo security has the lowdown.)

Cyber coordinator close to being named?

So, where does the cybersecurity saga now stand? An unconfirmed Reuters report names Frank Kramer, a former assistant Defense secretary in the Clinton administration, as the top candidate. As usual, we’ll have to stay tuned.

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