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Dhs Cybersecurity Chiefs Speak Out

By Information Week

September 1, 2009

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As federal agencies continue to brainstorm ways to effectively oversee cybersecurity, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is increasing its foothold as one of a handful of key players in securing government computer networks against intrusions. At the core of Homeland Security's effort are Phil Reitinger, DHS' deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate and head of the National Cyber Security Center, and Greg Schaffer, assistant secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS.

"Our role is to work to bring one team, one fight from DHS to address cybersecurity, to work with partners to help enable progress across .gov, and particularly with the Cybersecurity Coordinator when appointed," Reitinger says. In particular, Reitinger says his top priorities are building capability, establishing partnerships across the private and public sectors, and ensuring that the cyberinfrastructure of today can handle the security demands of the future.

In regards to the distribution of responsibility among disparate federal agencies when it comes to cybersecurity, Schaffer says one of the things to remember is how much change has occurred in the past decade in terms of discussing cybersecurity. "When Phil and I were with the Justice Department 10 years ago, cybersecurity was thought of as a silo," he says. "It has since become horizontal. If you think about it in that context, it is an adjustment for everyone to get into the mentality of this being a team sport that everyone has a role in."

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