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Bush plan rejects cybersecurity czar
From: William Knowles <wk () c4i org>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 02:16:22 -0500 (CDT)
BY Diane Frank
June 13, 2001
The Bush administration is wrapping up details on a new governmentwide
structure to lead national cybersecurity efforts, again rejecting the
idea of having a security czar.
White House officials have been working for months on ways to
reorganize the governments initiatives for protecting the information
systems that support the nations critical infrastructure. The critical
infrastructure protection (CIP) effort started under President Clinton
in 1998, when he signed Presidential Decision Directive 63.
Many have suggested establishing a cybersecurity czar with a role
similar to John Koskinens position leading the federal governments
Year 2000 efforts. But Clinton, concerned that agencies would pass
responsibility to a czar, in PDD 63 created a national coordinator at
the National Security Council to oversee agency CIP efforts.
The new Bush plan, expected later this month, will continue in that
vein by creating a board with members from the various critical
infrastructure protection sectors to coordinate policy and provide
support for individual agency initiatives.
"We cant have a single government agency or single government entity
handling this problem," said Paul Kurtz, director of transnational
threats at the National Security Council and the NSCs leader for
cyberprotection issues. "The idea is a dispersed solution that allows
coordination across agencies."
The boards chairman will report directly to the national security
adviser, currently Condoleezza Rice. The board will have several
function-specific subcommittees to cover in-depth the issues under
CIP. This will include national security, research and development,
training, and physical security as it ties in with cybersecurity,
"Were going to be at the top trying to set the trend lines, trying to
set the pace," he said.
But the board will not dictate specific rules for agencies to follow,
because that would likely lead to the same pass-the-buck mentality as
"We cant fight for each particular agencys needs," Kurtz said "We can
help, but we need to have each agency take responsibility for their
The board will oversee some specific initiatives, including the Cyber
Warning and Information Network under development to tie in cyber
incident alert information from across government and even the private
sector. This effort will link to the initiative at the General
Services Administrations Federal Computer Incident Response Center to
create a central warnings and analysis center for civilian security
This networks structure is in development, with plans to put it in
place this fall. For now, the idea is to create a "ringdown" network,
so that if any agencys incident response team sends out an alert on
the network, it is automatically sent to all other members of the
network, Kurtz said.
"Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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- Bush plan rejects cybersecurity czar William Knowles (Jun 15)