The Public Eye with Eric Chabrow

Obama Reiterates Cybersec as Priority

Critical Infrastructure Protection Month Designated
Obama Reiterates Cybersec as Priority

To be fair to the president, he's been busy with other priorities, the economy and two wars in Asia, to name just two. Despite his relative silence on the issue, the White House, departments of Defense and Homeland Security and other parts of his administration have been tackling cybersecurity initiatives since his May 2009 speech outlining his cyberspace policy (see The President's 10-Point Cybersecurity Action Plan).

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Last April, for instance, the administration took the wraps off its National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (see Single Digital Password Credential Sought) and a month later the White House unveiled its cybersecurity legislative package (see White House Unveils Cybersecurity Legislative Agenda.)

Cybersecurity remains a priority for my administration, and we are committed to protecting our critical infrastructure by taking decisive action against cyberthreats. 

But in those cases, we didn't hear directly from the president. That changed Wednesday when Obama, at least in writing, reiterated the importance of IT security in a proclamation designating December as Critical Infrastructure Protection Month. The president proclaims:

"From irrigation to the Internet, our nation's critical infrastructure supports an incredible array of services and industries that are essential to our continued success and prosperity."

The president goes on, discussing the fortification of the federal government's partnerships with state, local, territorial and tribal governments as well as the private sector to safeguard the nation's critical physical and digital assets. Then, he specifically addresses cybersecurity:

"As we navigate new and uncertain challenges in the digital age, we must also address the growing threat cyberattacks present to our transportation networks, electricity grid, financial systems and other assets and infrastructure. Cybersecurity remains a priority for my administration, and we are committed to protecting our critical infrastructure by taking decisive action against cyberthreats.
"To ensure the safety of our most vital operations, we are working to give public and private organizations the ability to obtain cybersecurity assistance quickly and effectively. These efforts will bolster our ability to withstand any attack, whether virtual or physical."

It's good that the president reemphasized his commitment to cybersecurity through the proclamation, even if it was in the form of a written document prepared by his staff.

By the way, December isn't just Critical Infrastructure Protection Month. In another proclamation issued Thursday, Obama also designated December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Another worthy cause, indeed.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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