A year after Congress elevated cybersecurity to the top rung of the Homeland Security hierarchy, DHS has finally appointed an assistant secretary for cyber-security and telecommunications. And the winner is ... Greg Garcia, VP of information security policy for the Information Technology Association of America.
Garcia will oversee DHS's implementation of the "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace ," a far-reaching blueprint for securing the nation's most critical information networks and for crafting a disaster-recovery and response plan in case of a major cyber-attack or other massive malfunction.
The strategy has been on the table since 2003 but the department has made precious little progress towards meeting its goals - strong industry and government collaboration in the event that terrorist strikes disable the country's telecom, water and power systems.
In "Cyber Storm," an exercise that tested government-private sector response to such a scenario, government agencies and private sector players failed at recognizing coordinated attacks, determining whom to contact, and organizing a response, according to a DHS report.
"I think Cyber Storm showed that we really haven't made that much progress in figuring out how we'd respond if something bad like this does happen," said James Lewis, director of technology and public policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank located in Washington, D.C. "With just two and a half years left, this administration is on a tight timeline to get anything done here... . But Greg is a great pick and should be able get things up and running at a good pace."