President Barack Obama named Melissa Hathaway to lead a 60-day review of the cybersecurity efforts of the US Government. Hathaway thus became the Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace for the National Security and Homeland Security Councils.
Melissa Hathaway, who has served as Cyber Coordination Executive to the Director of National Intelligence, chaired the National Cyber Study Group, a group responsible for helping develop a 5-year $30 billion dollar plan to secure federal systems and infrastructure against online threats. This Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative (CNCI) was approved by Bush earlier last year and is still being implemented.
The new review will look at ongoing security programs, plans and activities and will develop recommendations to ensure they continue to meet the needs of both the public and private sectors. Essentially, Hathaway will be reviewing the progress of the existing CNCI plan and offering advice to keep it moving forward.
"The national security and economic health of the United States depend on the security, stability, and integrity of our Nation’s cyberspace, both in the public and private sectors. The President is confident that we can protect our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure while at the same time adhering to the rule of law and safeguarding privacy rights and civil liberties," said Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan.
As part of her task, Hathaway will reportedly evaluate a recommendation that a special White House "cyberadviser" role be created (something Obama echoed on the campaign trail). It is suggested that this role report directly to the President rather than leaving cybersecurity to the Department of Homeland Security. This type of role would help create a comprehensive plan for cybersecurity, an issue that spans all government agencies.