Obama to name Cybersecurity Advisor today

Major Garrett reports President Obama will name Howard A. Schmidt Cybersecurity Advisor today, filling the post after a year-long search.

"On Tuesday December 22, 2009 the White House will announce that the President has selected Howard Schmidt as the nation's Cybersecurity Coordinator," said an administration official. "Cybersecurity is critical to both our national security and economic competitiveness, and the President wanted to ensure that the Cybersecurity Coordinator had the right mix of public and private sector experience.

After an extensive search, the President chose Schmidt because of his unique background and skillsets. He has served as Chief Information Security Officer at eBay, Chief Security Officer at Microsoft, has worked with federal and local law enforcement and the Defense Department, has previously served at the White House, and most recently was President and CEO of the Information Security Forum. The President was personally involved in the selection of Schmidt, and Schmidt will have regular access to the President for cybersecurity issues.

Our Cybersecurity team at the White House has been making good progress on the President's cybersecurity priorities since his speech and that will enable Howard to hit the ground running. Schmidt and his team are part of the National Security Staff and will closely support the National Economic Council on cybersecurity issues."

A note of interest, Schmidt served as a top advisor in the George W. Bush administration. He was the lead cybersecurity adviser to Bush's counter-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke. In 2003, Schmidt was instrumental in drafting Bush's "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace" report - the first definitive WH assessment of terrorist and organized crime threats to national cyber infrastructure, released Feb. 14, 2003.


Howard A. Schmidt has had a distinguished career spanning more than 40 years in defense, law enforcement, and corporate security. He is an expert in the areas of computer security, cybercrime, critical infrastructure protection and business risks related to cyber security. He has long been a leader in the creation of public and private partnerships and information-sharing initiatives.

Mr. Schmidt currently is the President and CEO of the Information Security Forum, a nonprofit international consortium that conducts research and develops best practices in information security, risk management and critical infrastructure protection. He has held executive roles in the private sector including Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at eBay Inc. and Chief Security Officer (CSO) for Microsoft Corporation. Mr. Schmidt's government service has included assignments at the White House, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI).

At the White House, he was appointed as the Vice Chair of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board and Special Advisor for Cyberspace Security. He served as Chief Security Strategist for the United States CERT Partners Program for the National Cyber Security Division. Mr. Schmidt also was a supervisory special agent and director of the AFOSI Computer Forensics Lab and Computer Crime and Information Warfare Division. Prior to that, he led the computer forensics team for the FBI at the National Drug Intelligence Center.

His military career includes active duty tours with the U.S. Air Force, service in the Arizona Air National Guard as a computer/communications specialist and in the U.S. Army Reserves as a Special Agent, Criminal Investigation Division where, until his retirement from the reserves, he served with the computer crime investigations unit. He has testified as an expert witness in federal and military courts in the areas of computer crime, computer forensics and Internet crime. Before working at the FBI, Mr. Schmidt was with the Chandler, Arizona Police Department.

Mr. Schmidt has held leadership roles in various non-profit professional organizations including the Information Systems Security Association, (ISC)2 and was the co-founder and first president of the Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center. In 2005 , Mr. Schmidt was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to the Information Security Privacy Advisory Board. He has received numerous awards and recognitions from government and private industry including the CSO Magazine "Compass Award", Baseline Magazine's "The 50 Most Influential People in Business IT" as well as the Federal 100 Award to name just a few.

Mr. Schmidt holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix and holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and a Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional. Mr. Schmidt is a Professor of Research at Idaho State University, Adjunct Professor at Georgia Tech, Information Security Center, and Adjunct Distinguished Fellow with Carnegie Mellon's CyLab and a Distinguished Fellow of the Ponemon Privacy Institute.