Obama inching closer to cybersecurity shuffle


President Obama today announced a plan to create a “national security staff” consisting of new White House advisors in key areas of homeland security, including cybersecurity and information sharing.

The staff will operate under the direction of the national security advisor, advising the White House staff on policy decisions concerning international and national security matters.

Today’s announcement brings the White House a step closer to releasing the results of the long-awaited federal cybersecurity review Obama commissioned in February.

The creation of a cybersecurity czar would make good on one of Obama’s campaign promises, though he said he plans to retain the position of assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism as his principal advisor on security issues.

Placing the cybersecurity position at a lower level of the White House structure, rather than giving the role direct access to the president, could disappoint some cybersecurity experts who have warned that the government hasn’t taken the threats to the nation’s digital infrastructure seriously enough.

Obama also said he plans to keep the Homeland Security Council as the primary body coordinating interagency security work.

Today’s announcement comes as the result of a comprehensive government security review, touching on a breadth of areas ranging from weapons of mass destruction to pandemic preparedness.

The details of the cybersecurity review, led by Melissa Hathaway, a former intelligence official in the Bush administration, are expected to be released later this week.

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