Last week, President Obama announced that Howard Schmidt, recent president and CEO of the Information Security Forum, would be taking the position of cyber coordinator at the White House. It has now been a week and various cyber security experts in and outside of government have weighed in on the choice of Schmidt. Below are some comments on the appointment from Jim Lewis, Gen. Harry Raduege and Phil Reitinger.
“It’s a good move and not too soon. Schmidt’s biggest challenge will be building coordination among the cyber initiatives already under way. DOD, DHS, even State, have done a lot in the last few months. He’ll also need to think about how to rewrite the 2003 strategy so that it says something useful – it can’t just repeat public-private partnership and info sharing. We need new ideas and nurturing them that might be his biggest challenge.” – James Lewis, Center for Security and International Studies
“I have very fond memories of working with Howard over the years. He’s a great professional. When I was the Director of DISA & the Manager of the National Communications System (NCS), Howard came to me right after 9/11 and carried a message of support from Bill Gates and Microsoft to help in any way possible in reconstituting communications throughout New York City (my NCS hat) & the Pentagon (my DISA hat). After he delivered his message in a business suit, he walked across the hall and put on his military uniform and started working the floor in the DISA Network Operations & Security Center (NOSC). Howard is a man who is used to being on the front lines of Cybersecurity and is just as comfortable working at the strategic policy levels as he is at the tactical operations console. The President made a great choice in selecting Howard as our Nation’s first Cybersecurity Coordinator.” – Gen. Harry Raduege, chairman of the Deloitte Center for Cyber Innovation and the former director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and Manager of the National Communications System
“I said on more than one occasion that it was important to get the right person, and we at DHS will be honored to work with Howard and under the leadership he will bring to the issue of cybersecurity… Howard has demonstrated the ability to work across government regardless of party, and across industry, for many years. He helped establish the Information Technology ““ Information Sharing and Analysis Center, served on the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board , has held key security positions in several private sector companies, has personally investigated cases and until recently continued to serve as an agent in a reserve capacity for the Army Criminal Investigations Division. It is hard to find someone in the cybersecurity community with whom Howard has not worked. I and we look forward to continuing to work with Howard and his great team at the White House.” – Phil Reitinger, Deputy Under Secretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate and Director of the National Cybersecurity Center