Hathaway confirms she's a candidate for cyber chief

Hathaway details cybersecurity review, confirms she's a candidate for cybersecurity coordinator position

Melissa Hathaway, the official that led the Obama administration’s 60-day review of cybersecurity policy, confirmed Friday that she is a candidate for the White House cybersecurity coordinator position.

Hathaway said there is a list of candidates -- she wasn't sure how long -- being considered for the position, but that  President Barack Obama hadn’t yet conducted any interviews. Obama, in a May 29 speech on cybersecurity policy, said he would “personally select” the cybersecurity coordinator. She said officials hoped to have a cybersecurity coordinator selected in the coming weeks, but that no definite date had been set.  

Hathaway, who has been serving as the acting senior director for cyberspace on the White House's National Security Council, said that she is interested in the job.


A reader responds:

I am astonished that Ms. Hathaway would even want the job she formulates in her Cyber Policy Review (CPR), the 76 page document she prepared over 60 days. The position, as described, is powerless to effect change and would be frustrating to the point of hair pulling for anyone who took it.

What do you think? Scroll down to read more comments or post your own.


She made the comments while speaking with reporters after an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in which she detailed the findings of the administration’s review and highlighted areas of future focus.

She also said the administration was reviewing the many cybersecurity-related bills that lawmakers have introduced in recent months and working to put together a comprehensive view of the legislation for Congress.

During her speech she said the administration will make cybersecurity a core management responsibility – on a par with human capital and fiscal management – for heads of executive agencies and departments. 

Throughout the speech Hathaway emphasized the importance of privacy and civil liberties concerns as the administration’s cybersecurity efforts move forward, saying the goal is to have an official on the national security staff with that responsibility hired in the next few weeks.

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Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Tue, Jun 16, 2009 Jeffrey A. Williams

I am also surprised that Ms. Hathaway took the job. Further she is not suited well enough to be able to make relevant and important technical decisions. In short she is a policy wonker wana-be cybersecurity expert without the relevant experiance or necessary educational background. We're in trouble here.

Mon, Jun 15, 2009

"canditate" is spelled "candidate". Actually it makes little difference who another cyber "chief" is or does. Large systems rarely fail because of the vision or strategies of chiefs. Events turn on small stuff like an iced up pitot tube, or taped over static ports. Or the Japanese scout plane that didn't take off, that decided the battle of Midway. So with all the attention paid to folks at the top, it is really the basics of a culture that is important.

Mon, Jun 15, 2009 Glenn Schlarman Annandale,VA

She's smart and capable but not right at all for the job. Need someone who sees biz needs, privacy and openness as at least equal to and in some cases more important than security needs

Fri, Jun 12, 2009 Richard Stiennon Michigan

I am astonished that Ms. Hathaway would even want the job she formulates in her Cyber Policy Review (CPR), the 76 page document she prepared over 60 days. The position, as described, is powerless to effect change and would be frustrating to the point of hair pulling for anyone who took it.

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