Howard Schmidt to retire from position as White House cyber security co-ordinator

News by Dan Raywood

White House cyber security adviser Howard Schmidt has announced that he is to leave his position at the end of this month.

White House cyber security adviser Howard Schmidt has announced that he is to leave his position at the end of this month.

Schmidt joined the Obama administration in December 2009 and said he is stepping down to spend time with his family and pursue teaching in the cyber field, according to The Washington Post.

He is to be replaced by Michael Daniel, chief of the White House budget office's intelligence branch; Daniel has worked at the office for 17 years and spent the past ten years handling cyber security issues.

Schmidt's achievements included unveiling the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative for securing government and private industry networks; launching the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace; and making moves to tackle the prevalence of botnets and protect power grids from attack.

Upon his appointment, President Obama detailed five priority areas for Schmidt to work on: developing a new comprehensive strategy to secure American networks; ensuring an organised, unified response to future cyber incidents; strengthening public/private partnerships at home and forging international partnerships with allies and partners; promoting research and development of the next generation of technologies; and leading a national campaign to promote cyber security awareness and education.

Schmidt said: “It has been a tremendous honour for me to have served in this role and to have worked with such dedicated and professional colleagues both in the government and private sector. We have made real progress in our efforts to better deal with the risks in cyberspace so, around the world, we can all realise the full benefits that cyberspace brings us."

John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, said: "Howard brought his unmatched experience in business, defence, law enforcement and privacy to his role as cyber security co-ordinator, and over the past three years his leadership has brought the inter-agency together to implement effectively the president's direction. The president and I are extremely grateful for Howard's tireless work in addressing one of the most serious national security challenges we face as a nation."

On his appointment as cyber security co-ordinator, Daniel said: “I am very honoured to be asked to take on such an important role, especially at a time when cyber security issues are so prominent.

“The challenges in this area are real and serious, but I have the benefit of building on the progress Howard has made through his leadership and I look forward to continuing my career in public service in a new way."

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