Considering the dismal state of tech security in the federal government, I am pleased to hear that President Obama will soon appoint a cybersecurity czar. Last year, the federal government slightly improved its overall computer security grade from C-minus to C, according to the FY 2007 Computer Security Report Card (pdf) released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The Washington Post reports:
President Obama is expected to announce late this week that he will create a “cyber czar,” a senior White House official who will have broad authority to develop strategy to protect the nation’s government-run and private computer networks, according to people who have been briefed on the plan.
The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final.
The announcement will coincide with the long-anticipated release of a 40-page report that evaluates the government’s cybersecurity initiatives and policies. The report is intended to outline a “strategic vision” and the range of issues the new adviser must handle, but it will not delve into details, administration officials told reporters last month. […]
The document will not resolve the politically charged issue of what role the National Security Agency, the premier electronic surveillance agency, will have in protecting private-sector networks. The issue is a key concern in policy circles, and experts say it requires a full and open debate over legal authorities and the protection of citizens’ e-mails and phone calls. The Bush administration’s secrecy in handling its Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, most of which was classified, hindered such a debate, privacy advocates have said. […]
Obama was briefed a week ago and signed off on the creation of the position, the sources said. But as of Friday, discussions were continuing as to what rank and title the adviser would have.