Executive Order on Cybersecurity Gets More Support

Following repeated failures by the Senate to pass a new cybersecurity law to protect national infrastructure, a former White House cybersecurity chief offered the president advice.

by / August 31, 2012
U.S. Cyber-Coordinator Howard Schmidt White House

President Obama's former cybersecurity coordinator came out of retirement for a few minutes to weight in with some advice about protecting the country against cyberattacks. Howard Schmidt advised Obama to strongly consider an executive order to protect the nations computer networks, mirroring U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's recommendation earlier in the week.

After the recent failure of a cybersecurity bill, some senators have said they would try to pass alternative legislation in September, but there’s little chance a law would be passed before January when the 112th Congressional period ends.

Typically even-keeled when speaking about cybersecurity risks, Schmidt highlighted the importance of preventative measures without being Y2K-dramatic about it. “As a veteran, it somehow does a disservice to those who have served to equate physical war with cyberwar,” he said, the National Journal reported.

Short of issuing an executive order, Schmidt said, Obama could propose changes that would increase information-sharing between agencies and the president could also more strongly enforce security standards in procurement and contracting processes.

While recognizing the potential risk of cyberattacks, Schmidt recommended that the winner of the upcoming election should more fully substantiate the risks in order to determine the best course of action.

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