White House Cybersecurity Review Complete; Public Announcement Expected Soon

By David Bruggeman
April 24, 2009

The Obama Administration recently finished a 60-day review of federal cybersecurity efforts. Melissa Hathaway, Acting White House Cyberspace Director, indicated in public remarks (scroll down for video) at the RSA computer security conference that the report is currently with the President for his review, and should be made public soon.

As might be expected during the course of a review kept out of the public eye, speculation has run rampant over the last two months. The recent resignation of the director of the Homeland Security Department’s National Cybersecurity Center raised concerns that the National Security Agency was expanding its authority in this area. The NSA Director downplayed those reports, noting that the agency has cybersecurity responsibility for the U.S. military. Civilian cybersecurity responsibility is currently with a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

While Hathaway’s remarks (PDF) were relatively detail-free, there is an expectation that the White House will seek greater responsibility for cybersecurity. As Brian Krebs notes at Security Fix, the speech contained an emphasis on cybersecurity and the economy that might be better handled from the White House than more narrowly defined mission agencies. In any event, what changes will take place, if any, should be known within a couple of weeks.