ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Cyber Security Industry
Alliance (CSIA) today called on the Department of Homeland Security to
demonstrate stronger leadership on cyber security by filling the position
of Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Telecommunications that was
created one year ago this week.
"While the Department of Homeland Security clearly has had a lot of
very important priorities to manage, it is troubling that after an entire
year, we still have not seen this crucial position filled," said Paul
Kurtz, executive director of CSIA. "This is not a simple personnel issue.
It is indicative of the ongoing lack of attention being paid to cyber
security at the most senior levels of government. Without strong federal
leadership, our national information infrastructure remains at risk with no
one clearly in charge of coordinating its security and reliability."
Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the creation of the Assistant
Secretary for Cyber Security and Telecommunications position on July 13,
2005 as part of a six-point agenda to realign the Department's policies,
operations and structures to better address potential threats. The agenda
was created after the Second Stage Review, a careful study of the
Department's programs, policies, operations and structure.
According to the Department's agenda, the new Assistant Secretary for
Cyber Security and Telecommunications would be responsible for "identifying
and assessing the vulnerability of critical telecommunications
infrastructure and assets; providing timely, actionable and valuable threat
information; and leading the national response to cyber and
"Critical information infrastructure underpins our economy and national
security and yet just last month the Business Roundtable issued a report
stating that our nation is not prepared to handle a major cyber disruption.
It is simply not acceptable that our government does not have a high-level,
dedicated position to oversee the prevention, response and recovery from
threats to our information infrastructure," said Kurtz. "There is no
shortage of qualified candidates to serve as Assistant Secretary, just as
there is no shortage of hackers eager to wreak havoc on our information
infrastructure and national economy. Until we fill this position and
address other shortcomings of our national cyber security program, we will
continue to live on borrowed time. The Department of Homeland Security took
a great step forward in recognizing the need for an Assistant Secretary in
charge of cyber security and telecommunications, but the time for action is
Cyber Security Industry Alliance