Obama Administration’s Cyber Report Card

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt with President Obama, December 17, 2009.

From the National Security Cyberspace Institute:  We’ve awarded decidedly mixed grades to President Obama at the halfway point of his term.  It appears we’re making progress in cybersecurity on those issues that can be resolved through technological means or by development of agreed-to standards of compliance and performance worked at the mid-management level. However, the keys to sustained progress lie in deciding at the policy level what we want to achieve…with an implementable set of actions containing agreed-to definitions and a prioritized list for action. Included should be decisions on net neutrality, public-private partnerships, personally identifiable information standards, personal-private-public responsibility standards, legal liability standards, some standard of net resiliency and recoverability, agreements on what is cyber war, cyber crime, cyber "hacktivism" and what do we do about it…and more. From there focus can be brought to the technical needs to actually implement policy, and the regulations/laws needed to support execution. 
We’re encouraged by the Obama administration’s continuation of actions recommended by the CNCI. Specifically, better connectivity among cyber operations centers, increased network security, improvements in information sharing, and enhanced focus on the cyber supply chain are all demonstrations of a solid understanding of the problem. We believe Howard Schmidt is highly qualified to serve as the Cyber Coordinator and is doing a commendable job in spite of the lack of clarity that exists with his role. Further, the DoD standup of Cyber Command, the consolidation of all DHS cyber responsibilities under one directorate, and the Secret Service and FBI’s stepped-up approach to pursuing cyber criminals are reasons for optimism. However, for those areas that require top-level direction and leadership, people skills, tough decision making, and someone to serve as a referee for competing priorities among the various government agencies and departments – in short, the President – there’s a significant drop-off. We hope this is not the result of Mr. Obama’s lack of any real interest in the subject. …
Thus far, it appears the President gave a great pep talk before the team took the field, but hasn’t had much to offer in terms of in-game coaching. The degree of effectiveness of our interagency cooperation and collaboration will ultimately determine our ability to deter or respond to cyber incidents and attacks.  (photo: White House) (via Morning Defense)

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