Obama ready to announce cybersecurity chief

Barack Obama is due to name a senior adviser to take control of America’s cybersecurity efforts, nearly seven months after first declaring that protecting the country from internet attacks was a “national security priority”. Reports suggest that Howard Schmidt, a government veteran who previously served as an adviser to President Bush, will be named as the White House’s cybersecurity coordinator on Tuesday – with responsibility for overseeing the online defences provided by the Pentagon and intelligence agencies. The job of bringing together the disparate groups is seen by some as an impossible task – particularly since the various agencies often battle against each other for political gain – but some Obama administration officials see it as a vital role. The announcement is likely to head off criticism that the White House has failed to follow through on its own plans to establish a new office to deal with cybersecurity, which were announced in the summer. In one of his earliest acts on taking office, President Obama ordered a lightning review of US internet security. When the results were published in May, the president urged a major revision of the way American defence, security and intelligence agencies worked to protect the country’s computer systems, calling hacking a “weapon of mass disruption”.



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