When Melissa Hathaway resigned the post in August for "personal" reasons, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Chris Painter took over as an interim cyber security coordinator for the White House. In November, when the executive branch launched the National Cybersecurity Information and Communications Integration Center and a "permanent" cyber czar still had not been named, legislators and other observers were concerned by the delay.
As of Tuesday, however, they can rest easy. Federal Times reports Bush administration cyber security chief Howard Schmidt has been named to fill the position. Schmidt, who has also held executive positions at eBay and Microsoft, has nearly 40 years' experience in government, business and law enforcement, according to the story. The National Security Council's counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, says that experience makes Schmidt "one of the world's leading authorities on computer security."
Schmidt will report to directly to Brennan on the NSC, the story says. However, his responsibilities also will require involvement with the National Economic Council, which is led by Lawrence Summers. A White House spokesman Nick Schapiro, quoted by Federal Times, indicates there will not be tension between the two councils:
Cyber security and economic innovation are mutually reinforcing. Strong cyber security, baked in from the beginning, enables innovation to succeed and ensures that the platforms for innovation are resilient. The fact that the coordinator participates in both national security and economic discussions strengthens the position.