Governance & Risk Management

Influencers: Melissa Hathaway

Influencers: Melissa Hathaway
The Influencers is a continuing series of profiles of the people who shape federal government information security and privacy policy. This feature was posted before Melissa Hathaway resigned in August 2009.

Melissa Hathaway
Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace for the National Security and Homeland Security Councils.

Why She's an Influencer
President Obama charged Hathaway on Feb. 9 to conduct a wide-ranging, 60-day interagency review the government's cybersecurity plans and activities.

Her Experience
Hathaway is a protégé of retired Adm. Mike McConnell, who last month resigned as the nation's top spy National Intelligence director to return to the management consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton. Under McConnell, Hathaway served as a senior advisor and cyber coordination executive. She chaired the National Cyber Study Group, contributing to the development of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. That led to her appointment as director of the Joint Interagency Cyber Task Force in January 2008. At Booz Allen, where she first worked with McConnell, Hathaway served as a cybersecurity strategist, leading the information operations and long-range strategy and policy support business units.

Hathaway, who holds a BA from American University and a special certificate in information operations at the U.S. Armed Force Staff College, is a leading candidate to be the White House cybersecurity czar.

What's Said About Her
"Melissa was instrumental in constructing and making our nation aware of the Bush administration's Comprehensive National Cyber Initiative. She has deep experience and knowledge in this critical area of cybersecurity, so she's well qualified to be in charge of conducting this assessment." -Harry Raduege, Co-Chair, Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th President

In Her Own Words
"We need stronger international alliances to share the responsibility for securing cyberspace. We must do more to convince our allies and strategic partners of the benefits to them of taking an active role. We also need 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.

"When it comes to cybersecurity, government and the private sector need to recognize that an individual vulnerability is a common weakness. There's time, though not unlimited time, to get the job done. We must make a continuing public commitment to securing cyberspace and we must do so now."

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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