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CzarWars Episode 1 – The Phantom Finance

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

CzarWars Episode 1 -The Phantom Finance

First of all we need to define the various compartments of network security.  There is the Military/Government sector, the DOD is responsible for defending these systems. There is the public government infrastructure, which the DHS will be in charge of defending. There is the private sector which are responsible to defend themselves. mixed in with this is the general protection of the people which will come in usual form of software developed by the private sector.

The announcement has not yet been made for the new cybersecurity coordinator.  though there are many choices, and much speculation. I’ll add to it with my own observations.  All of the choices will be from one of the 3 sectors who have a stake in the cybersecurity plan. Whoever is selected will show what lobby has been successful. The DOD has stated repeatedly they have no interest in backing the position. that leaves the DHS and big business.  It gets a bit complicated because the DHS also has a close private-public collaboration.  So the distinction again needs to be made that there are two levels of defense here. the DHS, while responsible for civilian infrastructure, only takes responsibility for the systems that are government critical. The rest of the work, dealing with what their CISO calls the standard internet pollution, will go to some of the big names in public security. Meaning the responsibility to protect the people will be left to Anti-Virus vendors, and Microsoft. The person who is selected should have an existing understanding of current national security policy.  This would rule out the representatives from a strictly business background. The new cyber coordinator will most likely be someone from inside government, or someone who has recently gone into the private government consulting sector.  Before I continue I should mention Keith Alexander is rumored to be head of the new [cyber]command, but this is not the czar position. Melissa Hathaway already holds a similar white house position, and it is possible that she could receive the promotion – though I get a sense of reluctance either from her, or on the part of the white house.  What we have left is Fred Kramer, the former assistant defense secretary for international affairs under president Clinton, Paul Kurtz an Obama advisor who served in the national security council under bush and Clinton, Maureen Baginski  a former FBI intelligence leader, and Tom Davis.

To update this a little bit, Alexander was selected as head of the CyberCommand, and Tom Davis has expressed that he is quite comfortable in his new position in the private sector, he mentioned he was lucky to get out with out an indictment, and has no plans to return. Davis did act quite nervous when confronted about the position, so it is possible he already has been confirmed and is playing the denial game until the president makes it official.

The cybersecurity coordinator will need to have a technical enough background to understand the details of security recommendations. This person will need to then be able to translate the recommendations into terms that the president can understand, as well as pass them along to the Secretary of Commerce who can choose to request funding from the OMB.  The cyberczar might not have direct power to make changes, but the position is an important one. There is defiantly need for a coordinator to facilitate between the public-private partnership and the Executive Office of the President.  Someone who already has a good understanding of national security, technical knowledge, and political ability.  I’ve made my pick based on the current choices, so when if pull someone out of left field don’t hate.

Paul Kurtz an Obama advisor who served in the national security council under bush and Clinton, he has in the white house for long enough to  know its politics. Kurtz is also one of the people quoted in the findings on which the Cybersecurity Act was drafted saying “the United States is unprepared to respond to a `cyber-Katrina’ and that `a massive cyber disruption could have a cascading, long-term impact without adequate co-ordination between government and the private sector”. Here is a person that fits my criteria, he is technical, political, and a possesses an overwhelming desire to over-hype the cybersecurity threat with the understanding that it will create revenue to his and others private interests.  Its all about the money. If you check out the consulting team Paul B. Kurtz is on, it’s also about the cyber-FUD.

-I don’t want to leave out Maureen Baginski as a possible choice, since the current administration seems to be about equal opportunity employment, breaking barriers, etc.  Baginski is a career NSA gal who was tapped by FBI Director Robert Muller to reform the FBI’s handling of domestic intelligence.  It was suggested that major restructuring within the government might be required to integrate ‘cyber’ as a separate but equal department.-

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