Shifting Course on Infosec Post-9/11

Top Fed IT Exec on Aftermath of that September Day on Cybersecurity
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, federal IT leader Mark Forman was briefing government chief human resources directors on the president's e-government initiative at a forum at the University of Maryland, a 10-mile drive from his White House office, when word came of the first jet crashing into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York.Forum managers quickly replaced Forman's PowerPoint presentation on a video screen with live images of the World Trade Center just as the second plane struck the south tower. "The cell phones went off like crazy at that point," recalls Forman, who then was associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, responsible for e-government and information technology; in effect, Forman was the federal chief information officer. "Everybody was called back to their office."

Gridlock tied up Washington-area roads, so Forman and a colleague detoured to his Maryland home, where he initiated a pre-scheduled conference with other OMB team members to fine tune the e-government initiative. "It was pretty clear that the five, top initiatives were going to be required to help respond to or prepare for another incident like 9/11."

In an interview with Information Security Media Group (to listen, select one of the Podcast Options at right), Forman discusses the:

Forman was on the job as associate OMB director for only three months when the 9/11 attacks occurred. With passage in 2002 of the E-Government Act, which included the Federal Information Security Management Act, his title became administrator for e-government and IT, a job known today as federal CIO.

He resigned in August 2003 for the private sector, and now is forming a venture called Government Transaction Services, which will provide a cloud-based tool to help those receiving federal grants comply with government regulations. A former partner at the business consultancy KPMG, Forman worked at Unisys as a vice president of e-business/global public sector and IBM Global Services as principal/global public sector e-business strategy before joining OMB. Prior to those private-sector stints, Forman was a staff member on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee for seven years.

Forman received a bachelor degree in economics from Ohio State University and a master degree in applied microeconomics and quantitative methods from the University of Chicago.

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