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Changing of the Guard: White House Cybersecurity Coordinator

This week on the 
DorobekINSIDER, Chris Dorobek spoke with Karen Evans, the national director of 
US Cyber Challenge.

Among other cybersecurity issues, Karen discussed
 soon-to-be-retired Howard Schmidt’s tenure as the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator and the challenges facing his successor, Michael Daniel.

Evans argues that Howard Schmidt brought a lot of attention to the complicated issue of cybersecurity, bringing it into everyday conversation. While Schmidt’s major focus was on continuous monitoring, trusted internet connections, and developing a national strategy, Evans thought one of his biggest strengths was his ability to serve as a great spokesperson for cybersecurity and work to educate industry, government, and the public.

So, what is in store for Michael Daniel, as he steps into Schmidt’s role as cyber coordinator? Evans thinks that while the role is tough, it’s also probably “one of the best jobs out there right now because… this is a coming of age for cybersecurity.” Daniel’s primary challenge will be to make sure that all the plans that agencies have been developing over the last few years actually get implemented and are coordinated.

One particular challenge will be following through on the new
 International Strategy for Cyberspace to make that strategy a reality. The challenges of coordinating information sharing, threat information, and prosecutions that could take the form of counter-terrorism or law enforcement cases across international boundaries will be a monumental task.

On the home front, however, Evans sees no basis for concern about continuity at the cyber helm as Congress debates several cybersecurity bills that have been introduced in the House and Senate. Having spent 17 years at OMB, Evans thinks Daniel will provide stability, as he was closely involved in the
 Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), 
White House 60 day review, and other cyber initiatives.

You can find the entire interview here:

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Mark Forman

Howard was a technology policy person, Michael is a budget person. Howard pushed some peoples buttons, Michael is a good staff person who doesnt want to push anyone’s buttons. Howard had a career in Infosec and Cybersecurity, Michael has a career in Intel Community budget prep and oversight. When a budgeteer is put in a policy making position, my intuition says that the job has been changed. I appreciate Karen being supportive of Michael, but I really would like some thoughts from the community on what it means to have an Intel Community budgeteer become the Cyber Czar. I cannot imagine Michael replicating Howard, as both are good, intelligent people but have very different backgrounds. Can you?