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White House Cybersecurity Aide Quits

White House Moving Too Slowly on Naming Cybersecurity Czar

2 min read
White House Cybersecurity Aide Quits

The Washington Post is reporting that Melissa E. Hathaway, the White House senior aide on cybersecurity has handed in her resignation. The Post says that Ms. Hathaway, the Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace for the National Security and Homeland Security Councils, "had become dismayed by the delay" in naming a cybersecurity coordinator (aka "cybersecurity czar") by President Obama.

Ms. Hathaway had reportedly been a contender for the position.

In May, President Obama said in a speech relating to his release of the Cyberspace Policy Review report that Ms. Hathaway helped author that,

"America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity,"

and that

"Today I'm releasing a report on our review, and can announce that my administration will pursue a new comprehensive approach to securing America's digital infrastructure.

This new approach starts at the top, with this commitment from me:  From now on, our digital infrastructure -- the networks and computers we depend on every day -- will be treated as they should be:  as a strategic national asset.  Protecting this infrastructure will be a national security priority.  We will ensure that these networks are secure, trustworthy and resilient.  We will deter, prevent, detect, and defend against attacks and recover quickly from any disruptions or damage.

To give these efforts the high-level focus and attention they deserve -- and as part of the new, single National Security Staff announced this week -- I'm creating a new office here at the White House that will be led by the Cybersecurity Coordinator.  Because of the critical importance of this work, I will personally select this official.  I'll depend on this official in all matters relating to cybersecurity, and this official will have my full support and regular access to me as we confront these challenges."

Ms. Hathaway apparently felt that President Obama was not giving cybersecurity the priority status that he claimed in his speech or she thought was required.

However, as I mentioned here, no one seems too anxious to take the job of cybersecurity czar. The job promised lots of visibility and responsibility, but little authority, as Rod Beckstrom, Director of National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) discovered in his position. He resigned in March.

The Conversation (0)

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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