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White House to wrap up cyber review in April
Published: 2009-03-06

The White House has begun a review of the current policies for defending cyberspace and plans to propose any changes to the nation's cybersecurity initiatives by the end of April, a top adviser to President Barack Obama stated on Thursday.

Past proposals have focused on creating a better partnership between the government and the companies that own an estimated 90 percent of the Internet infrastructure, and the review will not change that, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, wrote on the White House blog. The resulting strategy must balance "our national and economic security objectives with enduring respect for the rule of law," he said.

Brennan added that the resulting strategy should "enhance economic prosperity and facilitate market leadership for the U.S. information and communications industry; deter, prevent, detect, defend against, respond to, and remediate disruptions and damage to U.S. communications and information infrastructure; ensure U.S. capabilities to operate in cyberspace in support of national goals; and safeguard the privacy rights and civil liberties of our citizens."

In February, the Obama Administration announced its plans to assign Melissa Hathaway, a top cybersecurity advisor from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to oversee a review of the United States' cybersecurity efforts and potentially become the nation's cybersecurity czar. Only late in the previous administration, under former President George W. Bush, did the government make progress in establishing better security for federal systems. The Bush Administration launched the Federal Desktop Core Configuration program and the Trusted Internet Connection initiative in 2007. Last year, President Bush signed the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 creating the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI).

One of the recommendations of the 60-day review could be to designate a lead agency in the case of a major Internet outage or other cyber event. Last week, the United States' top intelligence official argued that the National Security Agency should become the nation's cyber defender, adding his voice to a similar call by Paul Kurtz, a consultant and advisor to the Obama administration's transition team.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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