Tech Exec Picked for Top Cyber-Security Post
Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rod Beckstrom, best known for founding Twiki.net and for his book on the power of decentralized organizations, has been tapped by the Bush administration to manage a new National Cyber Security Center.
The White House announced March 21 that Beckstrom will take up an office at the Department of Homeland Security and report directly to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff.
As the first director of the NCSC, Beckstrom will be tasked with coordinating cyber-security efforts and improving situational awareness and information sharing across the federal government.
The new center, which was created by a presidential order in January, will lead the government's efforts to protect federal networks and enhance capabilities that defend against and reduce cyber-associated risks.
"The NCSC will work with the interagency to implement cyber security strategies in a cohesive way, consistent with our privacy laws," the White House said in a statement.
The choice of Beckstrom to run the center is a bit of a surprise, but White House officials believe he will bring "a specialized Internet expertise, and unique entrepreneurial and creative business thinking" to a department that has seen decision making bogged down by Washington bureaucracy.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Beckstrom is expected to be an ambassador to the private sector, which has been nervous about the government meddling in companies' networks in the name of protecting them.
Beckstrom received both his bachelor's degree and MBA from Stanford University and was a Fulbright Scholar in Switzerland.
Beckstrom joins the administration at a time when spending on security is being increased. According to the White House's fiscal 2009 budget proposal, the US-CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) is slated to get $242 million to boost its malware and intrusion detection capabilities.
DHS is expecting an 11 percent budget increase, including about $6.7 billion in new funding. According to the budget proposal, a sum of $293.5 million has been allocated to the National Cyber Security Division to push the deployment of the Einstein system on federal networks to protect against cyber-threats and intrusions.