Cybersecurity still a priority

Administration officials sought to reassure information technology industry executives that the federal government has not lost its focus on cybersecurity.

"I really believe the [cybersecurity] program is going to come out stronger than it was," said Sallie McDonald, a senior official in the Department of Homeland Security. She came to the department from the General Services Administration, where she was responsible for the Federal Computer Incident Response Center. The center has moved to the new department.

In recent weeks, contractors have expressed concern that cybersecurity was being jettisoned from the government's top IT priorities. Richard Clarke, the administration's cyberczar, left the government, leaving the White House without a top cybersecurity official. In addition, most federal cybersecurity organizations have moved to the Department of Homeland Security, but a top department official to lead cybersecurity efforts has not been named.

IT executives said industry might back away from expensive efforts to improve the security of their products if they see government officials backing away from a strong commitment to cybersecurity.

 

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