(ISC)2 recently announced the winners of its fifth annual Government Information Security Leadership Awards (GISLAs). From a select group of nominees, (ISC)2 spotlighted these individuals and their accomplishments, recognizing them with GISLAs in four distinct categories.

The GISLAs are presented to individuals who have significantly enhanced the IT security workforce by demonstrating a leadership role in the implementation or management of a component of an IT security workforce improvement initiative, program or project on either a government-wide or agency-specific basis. The GISLA judging committee, consisting of eight members of (ISC)2's U.S. Government Advisory Board for Cyber Security (GABCS), reviewed the award candidates, recommended final nominees and selected the four winners within each category.

The 2008 GISLA winners are:

Category: Non-Managerial IT Security Professional

In her position as the information systems security manager for the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Regions and Center Operations (ARC), Pam Rusk, CISSP, has been instrumental in establishing Information System Security Officer (ISSO) positions for the ARC organization in nine regions of the FAA. She has created a team of security professionals with cross-regional professional ties to support standardization across business lines and has helped broker the requirement that all ARC ISSOs be certified. As a result of Rusk's leadership, ARC's tactical and strategic business plan objectives are being met with success.

Category: Senior Non-IT Security Manager

In his position as executive director, information technology and chief information officer (CIO)/director, Information Technology Customer Service Organization of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), Michael Williams must comply with the Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Workforce Initiative of ensuring that employees with security responsibilities obtain professional certification. By establishing an internal CIO certification program for DCMA personnel, Williams helped to progress his agency a year ahead of the compliance schedule and has helped DCMA personnel achieve a certification pass rate of over 90 percent. The success of the DCMA team is in large part due to Williams' commitment to help each individual succeed.

Category: Senior IT Security Manager

As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) deputy assistant secretary for information protection and risk management, Adair Martinez', CISSP, PMP, leadership was critical in developing an agency-wide Information Security Officer (ISO) Initiative that would serve to greatly improve the overall security of the VA's systems. After the VA's May 2006 data breach, Martinez' vision was to achieve a "gold standard" in data security. Under her guidance, the ISO Workforce Initiative, including an Intern ISO Training Program, has met and exceeded all of its initial objectives.

Category: Federal Contractor IT Security Professional

In his position as a senior managing consultant with IBM Business Consulting Services, Steven Busch has been critical to the achievement of every major goal and objective of the DoD Information Assurance Workforce Initiative Program at the Defense-wide Information Assurance Program Office. He developed an active community of DoD, federal government, intelligence and commercial organizations in support of this initiative and worked closely with over 30 DoD Service and Agency Office of Primary Responsibility points of contact to help achieve an IA-empowered workforce. Busch has been instrumental in creating a program that is developing new, better educated and greater focused information security professionals at an increasing rate.

"An anticipated change to the current Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) legislation and the upcoming shift of presidential administrations has placed a renewed focus on the government's information security practices and policies. During this time of transition, fiscal uncertainty and a declining number of federal employees, those individuals who lead the nation's cyber security efforts are being challenged like never before," says W. Hord Tipton, CISSP-ISSEP, CAP, CISA, executive director of (ISC)2 and former CIO of U.S. Department of Interior. "We are honored to recognize the accomplishments of those exceptional leaders who are committed to their agency and to the safety of this nation's information systems."

-cmm