In the wake of devastating breaches of sensitive government data, is it time for the White House to appoint a high-level official whose sole responsibility is hunting down cyber intruders in federal agency networks?
That’s what Richard Bejtlich, chief security strategist for FireEye, told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing Wednesday.
For more than a decade, the federal government has had a federal chief information officer, and President Barack Obama fulfilled a campaign by appointing the first U.S. chief technology officer in 2009.
But high-profile cyber incidents at the Office of Personnel Management, the Postal Service, the State Department and even the unclassified networks at the White House haven’t led to a grand rethink of the government’s cyber org chart.
“This is similar to the situation of many private sector businesses before a breach, but after a breach they quickly change,” Bejtlich said. “Thus far, the government has not changed. We still don’t have a U.S. CISO.”
Bejtlich was one of several outside experts asked to evaluate the Pentagon’s April 2015 rewrite of its cybersecurity strategy. Bejtlich said his proposed federal CISO would have oversight of civilian networks but stay out of DOD’s way. DOD and the intelligence community are already doing fairly well at continuously probing their networks for intruders, he said.
“This is a culture shift that needs to take place in the rest of the government, in the civilian side of the government,” Bejtlich testified. “And that would be my initial mandate to the…