DHS Beefing Up Cybersecurity Mission
Good update from Marc Ambinder about the Department of Homeland Security’s moves to emphasize cybersecurity, something that’s been a longtime focus of the crew around former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke. (Clarke’s friend and former deputy, Rand Beers, is now an undersecretary at DHS.) This caught my eye:
DHS recently convinced Bruce McConnell, a well-regarded industry mandarin, to return to government after 15 years in the private sector. He is now the counselor to the DHS’s protections and programs directorate, which oversees its cybersecurity center. Coordinating DHS cybersecurity efforts is Philip Reitinger, formerly a senior Microsoft executive. In a bit of consolidation, Reitinger is also the director of the National Cyber Security Center, reporting directly to Napolitano and to her chief counselor, Rand Beers. A third hire from industry is Greg Schaffer, the former chief risk officer for Alltel Communications.
As Marc points out, there’s a private sector pull away from DHS, due to the fact that you can make a lot more money there. But any kind of tech-intensive interplay between the government and private industry raises the prospect of revolving doors and shady deals. Watching the proliferation of defense firms moving into the cybersecurity area to catch the next wave of DHS and Pentagon contracts creates an obligation to keep an eye on who’s connected to whom and getting deals for what.