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Competing Proposals for Cyber Coordinator

Last Friday, Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, outlined the key principles he hopes to include in legislation put forward with Susan Collins on cybersecurity, including a Senate-confirmed cyber coordinator positioned in the White House.

On Monday, Senator Susan Collins spoke before the Homeland Security Policy Institute at GWU and outlined her view that the cyber coordinator position should be part of the Department of Homeland Security.

As the leading members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Lieberman and Collins often work together on pieces of legislation related to national security issues. In this case, Collins advocates a coordinator who is operating in DHS, who can operate in a similar manner to the head of the National Counterterrorism Center (who reports to the DNI and president).

The idea is to give the individual the high level access to the president while providing the appropriate infrastructure backing. Critics of Collins’ plan cite the difficulty of cross-agency cooperation if the coordinator is operating out of DHS.

Despite their differences over the position of cyber coordinator, both Lieberman and Collins believe a coordinator needs to be appointed soon.

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