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Melissa Hathaway to be Named Obama's Top Cyber-Security Official

President Obama recruits an aide from the Bush administration to head up his own cyber-security activities.

by / February 9, 2009

President Barack Obama is expected to announce today the appointment of Melissa Hathaway to a position within his administration to spearhead cyber-security and lead a review of the federal government's actions to safeguard networks against malicious infiltration, according to government officials.

Earlier today, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hathaway, a former consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and consulting technology firm, previously assisted the Bush administration in creating the Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative.

Melissa Hathaway to Review Bush Policies

The five-year, $30 billion initiative is intended to reduce and consolidate thousands of federal network connections while developing a faster process for detecting suspicious behavior on global networks.

Hathaway will complete a 60-day review of the Bush initiative and recommend where the country should go from there.

In July 2008, Obama promised Americans during his campaign that he would name a national adviser for United States IT security if he became president. "We need to prevent terrorists or spies from hacking into our national security networks. We need to build the capacity to identify, isolate and respond to any cyber-attack. And we need to develop new standards for the cyber-security that protects our most important infrastructure -- from electrical grids to sewage systems; from air traffic control to our markets," he said in a July 16, 2008, speech in Indiana, the text of which is available at www.barackobama.com.

The appointment of Hathaway appears to be his first significant step toward making good on this promise. In the Obama administration, she will be a senior director in the National Security Council.

 

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Hilton Collins

Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.