White House Names Schmidt as Cyber Coordinator

The White House Tuesday named Howard Schmidt to serve as its cybersecurity coordinator, ending months of delays in implementing a federal cybersecurity strategy.

"Howard is one of the world’s leading authorities on computer security, with some 40 years of experience in government, business and law enforcement," White House homeland security advisor John Brennan said in a letter to the public.

"Howard will have regular access to the President and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff.  He will also work closely with his economic team to ensure that our cybersecurity efforts keep the Nation secure and prosperous," Brennan added.

As the cybersecurity coordinator, Schmidt would report to Brennan as he attempts to manage cybersecurity activities across the federal government, serving to coordinate activities at agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, and others holding responsibilities for cybersecurity.

Schmidt formerly worked for President George W. Bush as the vice chair of the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board and as special adviser for cyberspace security for the White House, beginning in December 2001. Schmidt became chair of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board in January 2003 and left government in May 2003.

Previously, Schmidt served as vice president and chief information security officer as well as chief security strategist for online auction company eBay Inc., San Jose, Calif.

President Barack Obama initiated a 60-day Cyberspace Policy Review, which recommended the creation of the cybercoordinator job. But the position has been vacant since the review concluded in April.

Former White House cybersecurity advisor Melissa Hathaway, who led the policy review, resigned in frustration over the summer due to dissatisfaction with the White House’s pace in addressing the issues identified in the cybersecurity review.

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