Cybersecurity Czar Has Staffing Work Cut out for Him

Lora Bentley

Remember Howard Schmidt, the White House's newly appointed cybersecurity czar? According to, the former Microsoft exec's appointment to the post was widely applauded, and he reportedly has just the right mix of private sector and public sector experience to do the job well. But he's certainly had to hit the ground running.


Not only does he have to deal with the "running power struggles" between the National Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Economic Council regarding to which he should ultimately report,'s Max Stier says Schmidt has to be concerned about pulling together a top-notch staff of cybersecurity professionals. To this point, there has been a serious shortage of such skills in government, he says. More specifically:

[T]here is urgent need to close the technical skill gap, a task that will require a coordinated federal effort to recruit, hire and train professionals in computer network engineering, forensics, software development, defense, vulnerability and protocol analysis, intrusion detection, and, in the case of the military and intelligence communities, digital exploitation and attack.


The good news, some observers have said, is that Schmidt will be able to define much of his own job description. The bad news is, he doesn't have the luxury of significant time to do that. In fact, one of the first things he will have to do is write job descriptions for those who will be working for and with him to make sure his "new cyber strategy keeps America secure and prosperous."

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