Industry leaders praise Obama commitment to cybersecurity

Initiative welcomed as a high priority for the administration

Industry leaders are praising President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity initiataive as much for the high-profile commitment as for its substance.

Obama announced May 29 that he would create a cybersecurity policy position to coordinate cybersecurity efforts. The person would operate out of the White House. See our previous coverage.

Here are some comments from industry leaders:

Phil Bond, president of the TechAmerica, formerly ITAA, said what distinguished the announcement from past efforts to focus attention on cybersecurity “was the personal nature of the commitment from the president. Politically, he just put a lot of chips on the table. That’s a significant and even unprecedented step.” Bond said that in turn, would “impact a lot of legislation.”

Enrique Salem, CEO, Symantec, similarly saw Obama’s role as being a game-changer.

“What’s so important is [Obama] visibly made his commitment to ensure the success of this effort — and that he will take a broad based approach,” adding that “our future is dependent on securing the digital infrastructure of this nation.”

Charles Croom, vice president of cyber security, Lockheed Martin Corp., and former director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, said the lessons learned on the military side of cybersecurity reaffirm that “you need to approach this from an enterprise approach. And it’s about the team.” Those lessons, he said, were widely reflected in the president’s balanced policy approach in his new proposal.

Art Coviello, president, RSA, a unit of EMC, was hopeful that the Obama's plan would spur a variety of efforts in Congress to support advances in cybersecurity — and most notably, approval of legislation that would improve on the aging Federal Information Security Management Act.

Harriet Pearson, vice president, security counsel and chief privacy officer of IBM Corp., praised the broad range of inputs the president sought, and in particular, for his commitment to make privacy and civil liberties a cornerstone position in the office of the cybersecurity coordinator.

Bob Dix, vice president government affairs and critical infrastructure protection, Juniper Networs, called the announcements a “much-needed step forward in building national recognition of the dangers we face in cyber security and our critical infrastructure.”

“The president rightly notes the need to significantly extend and improve the collaborations between industry and government in identifying, mitigating, and responding to cyber security threats,” Dix said.

Organizations such as IT Sector Coordinating Committee, the Cross-Sector Cyber Security Committee, the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee and others organizations have “built a solid foundation on which to extend our partnerships with government in ensuring our cybersecurity,” he said.

Wyatt Kash [] editor-in-chief of Government Computer News contributed to this report.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

Reader Comments

Tue, Jun 2, 2009

Microsoft's VP of Federal Sales, Teresa Carlson also weighed in on the impact of the new cyber security position for Federal customers. On her blog FutureFed, she says: "It is good to see that this issue has received a much needed boost from the Administration. This is a necessary step. If we continue to develop a more open and transparent government, we need to ensure that the information that is accessible is secure." To read her full post you can go to

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