President Obama proved that cybersecurity is high on his agenda, and gave a nod to the reality that national cyber security has been a hodge-podge of leaders, jurisdictions and efforts when  he called for a 60 day review of the situation. “This 60-day interagency review will develop a strategic framework to ensure that U.S. Government cyber security initiatives are appropriately integrated, resourced and coordinated with Congress and the private sector,” the White House said in a press release issued January 9.

Melissa Hathaway, who worked on cybersecurity in the National Security Agency during the Bush administration, may be in line to be the Cyberczar that Obama has promised to appoint, Business Week says. Not everyone is thrilled with the approach though. “This new post has her reviewing a plan she helped to develop, a classic bureaucratic activity,” blogs Ericka Chickowski at CIO magazine.

CTO Vision reprints an Op-Ed penned by Hathaway last October that offers both cheerleading for the Bush administration's cybersecurity efforts and acknowledges the need for “a fundamental re-thinking of our government's traditional relationship with the private sector. A high percentage of our critical information infrastructure is privately owned, and industry needs to know what government knows about our adversaries' targets and, to the extent we understand them, their methods of operation.”

National cyber security, and the role of the private sector plays in ensuring it,  has suffered from a distinct lack of leadership in the past five years, with lots of plans and leaders announced with great fanfare, only to fall into relative obscurity. Let’s hope this time’s different.

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