Senior House lawmaker urges Obama to appoint cybersecurity czar

Senior House lawmaker says the need is immediate

The chairwoman of a House subcommittee that oversees cybersecurity today called on President Barack Obama to quickly appoint a cybersecurity coordinator.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) said it was important to have a cybersecurity official in the White House with access to the president to ensure computer defense efforts are coordinated and disciplined. Clarke, chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology Subcommittee, made the comments during an event in Washington hosted by TechAmerica, a trade association that represents the technology industry.

“One of the things that my office is doing is really engaging the administration to really focus its attention on getting that cyber czar in place,” she said. “One of the things that I would ask is that you join and your offices join, your members join with me in really calling on the administration to give some real attention and focus to getting that person who is going to be held accountable” in place.

Obama said in May he would appoint such an adviser, and since speculation has grown over whom he would pick for the role and whether the official would have sufficient clout.

Last month the co-chairmen of the House Cybersecurity Caucus sent a letter urging Obama to quickly appoint a cybersecurity coordinator. Meanwhile, Clarke said the need for such an official is immediate because of threats facing the public and private sectors.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

inside gcn

  • cybersecure new york city

    Cybersecurity for smart cities: Changing from reactionary to proactive

Reader Comments

Mon, Oct 19, 2009 Taylor Dallas

It is interesting that the reader discussion is more about the word "czar" than the need for this position. But to continue this thread, those of us in the IT industry recognize that this is not a common position title. However, we're not the target audience for the general news and the public latches on to easy things to remember, particularly when the actual title can be fairly long. It's just like it is easier for the public to remember Swine Flu than H1N1. But I'm sure the Russians get a chuckle over us using their title for "king" to describe senior government positions in this century.

Thu, Oct 15, 2009 Mike Baltimore

Amen, brother. It seems that legitimate news outlets have latched on to the alliterative "cyber czar" because it's fun and easy to say. And they've latched onto it the way less credible "news" outlets make up words like "brangelina".

Thu, Oct 15, 2009 Dittyman8

Ditto! Besides Obama doesn't want the position to have any real power. That's why no one wants the position. Anyone who is qualified would take a pay cut.

Wed, Oct 14, 2009 Jay Bethesda, MD

Can we use a proper name, like Chief Information Security Officer or whatever instead of "cybersecurity czar"? I am sick of listening to paranoid morons like Lou Dobbs and various Republican Congressmen screaming about all the Czars, like there is some sort of evil Czar plot to turn the US into a communist prison camp. No President has ever appointed anyone to a position with the word "Czar" in the title. The media seems to like the word because it provides a simple 2-word description of someone leading efforts on a multidisciplinary problem [(issue) Czar]. As far back as the Nixon years we had what was called a "Drug Czar". The media refers to the Federal CIO as "the Information Czar" and the CTO as the "Technology Czar". Come on! Every company that has anything to do with high or medium technology and every government agency has a CIO and a CTO. Nobody that knows anything about IT or high technology calls a CIO or a CTO a "Czar"!

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group