FTS security chief Thomas Burke makes a move to CSC

FTS security chief Thomas Burke makes a move to CSC

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

Thomas R. Burke, assistant commissioner for information security at the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service, will join the private sector this month.

'After 34 years in the government and 23 years in the same program, I think I need a change,' he said.

Lots of good people are taking the lead on systems security, and they're underrated, GSA's Thomas Burke says.

Burke will join Computer Sciences Corp., working on information security for the company's defense group.

He also will be the liaison between CSC's defense and civilian groups.

Although he acknowledged that industry's higher salaries are attractive to government's midcareer information technology officials, Burke said he did not follow the money trail to CSC.

Private-sector salaries don't hold the same appeal for older employees like himself who can reap the rewards of a federal pension plan after years of service, he said.

Burke also somewhat dismissed the fuss about the departure of high-level IT managers from the government.

'People will come forward,' he said. 'There are still a lot of good people in the federal government taking leadership in implementing security. They are underrated in their ability.'

Burke came on board at GSA as a communications specialist and worked his way up. Before joining GSA, he spent 11 years doing information security work with the Air Force.

Over the years, GSA and its FTS program have made progress educating and raising awareness about systems security and data assurance, Burke said.

'I think this administration has done really well in presenting the facts, threats and vulnerabilities,' he said. 'I think finally today managers are looking at information security from the business side'as part of the mission.'

Burke predicted that information security would become an integral part of IT capital planning within government. 'A normal budget request will include information security as a large portion,' he said.

Although Burke foresees such funding and planning as a near-term reality, 'we're still not there yet,' he said. 'Money is still a problem.'

Role for Congress

Part of the responsibility falls on Congress, he said, because lawmakers need to take a critical look at systems security during the appropriations process.


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