Originally published: January 27, 2010
Last updated: January 27, 2010 - 8:06pm
With the United States facing threats of cyberattacks from foreign countries, criminal organizations and politically motivated hackers, questions linger about the federal government's approach to cybersecurity.
There are few "penalties for doing bad things" in cyberspace, said James A. Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, during a briefing in Washington on Wednesday sponsored by Government Executive. He noted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech last week calling on Chinese authorities to investigate cyberattacks against Google marked the first time a U.S. leader has spoken out publicly about such an incident. Late last year, President Obama named Howard Schmidt to serve as the government's cyber coordinator, seven months after announcing the creation of the position.
"It would be very interesting to read [Schmidt's] job description," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr., chairman of the Deloitte Center for Innovation, who spent 35 years in the military working on information systems issues. A lot of people in government, Raduege said, "have responsibility, but no authority." He said Schmidt, who also served as special adviser for cyberspace security for the White House during the George W. Bush administration, has the background and expertise necessary to succeed as cyber coordinator. But Schmidt "will have to use all of his network," Raduege said. "He will have to ask the people who do have authority to carry water for him."
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