[ISN] White House council puts cybersecurity in focus

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Mon Jul 02 2007 - 23:12:53 PDT


By Jason Miller
July 2, 2007

The White Houses Homeland Security Council has raised its awareness of 
the importance of cybersecurity and the best definition of the federal 
governments role, said a senior administration official.

Thomas Bossert, a senior director for preparedness policy on the 
council, said there needs to be more coordination from the federal 

There is a real focus on cybersecurity from the White House Council, he 
said after a speech at the Network Centric Homeland Security conference 
sponsored in Washington by IDGA. There is possible guidance coming from 
the presidential level later this year.

Bossert added that information technology security is one of Frances 
Townsend's top priorities. Townsend heads the council.

We are aware of a lot of different activities, and the guidance may 
provide who does what and when, said Bossert, who added that no guidance 
was imminent and discussions are just in the early stages.

The council will also try to improve the coordination of federally 
funded Fusion Centers nationwide. The White House is working with the 
FBI and the Homeland Security Department to form a regional architecture 
to share information more easily.

Bossert said 42 states have or plan to establish Fusion Centers, and DHS 
has issued more than $380 million in grants to do so.

We want them to develop common operating procedures, he said.

The Information Sharing Environment in the Office of the National 
Director of Intelligence also is working on common operating procedures 
for information sharing.

Bossert said in May the Intelligence Threat Assessment Coordination 
Group, which includes federal, state and local officials, agreed on a 
formal standard for how to better share information.

DHS used to have its own way of sending out information, and the FBI 
did, too, he said. Now we have a coordinated way to send out threat 
assessment information. This is a very important milestone. This will be 
a standard message from the federal government.

Bossert said the goal is for the state and local first responders to 
know what the federal first responders know in real time. If that 
happens, he said, everyone will be better prepared to recognize and deal 
with possible threats.

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