Reitinger Says We're Fine Without Permanent Cyber Czar

By December 11, 2009

"People are the most important component of cybersecurity," said Philip Reitinger, Deputy Undersecretary of the Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate on Wednesday. Billed the "top cybersecurity leader" at the Department of Homeland Security by the GovInfo Security blog, Reitinger addressed his goals for the upcoming year. At the top of the list is adding numbers to the security experts he currently employs, but admits this is a tough challenge due to a lack of qualified information security experts. Reitinger explained that there is a need to increase collaboration between government and the private sector, since there just are not enough human resources to safeguard government systems.

But the White House is addressing the government's information security needs, Reitinger says. Even though there is no permanent cybersecurity coordinator, the acting cybersecurity coordinator "is a bona fide expert in this field, and has a great team of people working for him." Painter was formerly employed as an FBI cyber staffer, as clarified in ReadWriteWeb Thursday. Reitinger continues, saying that short-term issues are being addressed, but did not address long-term national goals that he initially considered important.

The continually empty seat that was reserved for a cyber czar by President Obama has placed the burden of disappointment on many a tech or security journalist. Michael S. Mimoso's tone begins with hope in his initial statement "All I want for Christmas is a cybersecurity coordinator," to feigned apathy with those "hollow words from the president's mouth" in an Information Security Magazine opinion piece this month.

Due to the continual failure to find the correct person to fill that seat, Mimoso suggests that this might be a better position for multiple individuals. Indeed, this would be in keeping with Reitinger's top goal. If people are the most important component of cybersecurity, perhaps the more, the merrier?

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