DHS Set to Appoint Cyber-Security Chief

The Department of Homeland Security is close to finalizing a selection for the vacant job as the head of the department's Cyber Security Division.

The Department of Homeland Security is close to finalizing a selection for the vacant job as the head of the departments Cyber Security Division. Department officials have sent a name to the White House for consideration and hope to have the person at work in the near future, according to comments made by Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge Sunday.

"That name has been submitted to the White House and it should be filled shortly," Ridge said on "Meet the Press."

The identity of the candidate is still being kept under wraps, but many of the people who were thought to be in the running for the job say they have never even been contacted by the department. Prominent names in this category include Guy Copeland, vice president of information infrastructure advisory programs at Computer Sciences Corp., in Falls Church, Va., and Pete Allor, manager of X-Force Threat Information Services at Internet Security Systems Inc., in Atlanta.

Copeland is a veteran of the security community and has ties to the federal government through his seat on the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, which advises the president. He is widely known and respected both in the private sector and in Washington technology circles. Which would seem to make him a natural for the job as chief of the NCSD, a position thats been empty since the division was created earlier this year.

Like Copeland, Allor has experience in the miltary as well as private industry. Allor also serves as the director of the IT-Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

"Ive heard my name mentioned and seen it in some stories, but nobody from DHS has contacted me and I havent contacted them," said Copeland. "I know all of those people whose names have been thrown out there and they all say the same thing."

Another name often mentioned in connection with the NCSD job is that of Mary Ann Davidson, chief security officer at Oracle Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif. Davidson was approached by DHS officials, but told them she wasnt interested in the position, according to Oracle officials.

Industry observers have been puzzled by the way the search process has been handled. In Washington, such searches typically follow a prescribed path that includes vetting names with third parties and asking for feedback. That hasnt been the case with the NCSD job.

"Its been the most closed process Ive ever seen," said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America in Arlington, Va. "They asked for names and we gave them some, but theres been no rebound."