Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rod A. Beckstrom has been tapped to join the Bush Administration to help secure federal networks against attack, the Post reported today. Beckstrom most recently founded Twiki.net, an enterprise Wiki support company, and previously created CATS Software and Mergent Systems. He's also coauthor of a book called The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, which "presents a new model for analyzing organizations, leadership style and competitive strategy." "I think it's an unconventional choice, and that's a good thing," said Roger Cressey, a former Bush administration official and president of Good Harbor Consulting. Unconventional, yes. But will Beckstrom be doing exactly? He wasn't saying when the Post reached him by phone, commenting only:
I'm thrilled to be on the DHS team, and I am looking forward to doing my best to serve the country.The Post story says he will be a "top-level adviser" based in DHS and that he will held an inter-agency group that will "coordinate information-sharing about cyber attacks aimed at government networks."
According to the sources, the center will be charged with gathering cyber attack and vulnerability information from a wide range of federal agencies, including the FBI, the National Security Agency and the Defense Department. Beckstrom will report directly to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.But DHS only just named Greg Garcia as assistant secretary for cyber-security and telecommunications, a position that was only created and filled under pressure from Congress. Garcia works for Robert D. Jamison, Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, who recently said his job included leading a US response to a fullblown cyberattack. So what's this new group all about? A sign of confusion, says James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Here you have a group that's allegedly in charge of cyber for DHS, and then we see another group being set up outside that in a structurally new way. We still don't know what [Beckstrom's] relationship will be to all of the other bits of cyber bureaucracy lying around.