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US Appoints First-Ever CISO

The White House has announced that Greg Touhill is the first-ever US Federal CISO.

In February, President Obama announced a Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) that takes a series of short-term and long-term actions to improve our cybersecurity posture within the Federal Government and across the country. The CNAP builds upon a comprehensive series of actions over the last nearly eight years that have fundamentally shifted the way the US approaches security in the digital age and raised the level of cybersecurity across the country. The CISO appointment is part of the plan.

The retired Brigadier General is currently the deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he focuses on the development and implementation of operational programs designed to protect our government networks and critical infrastructure. In his new role, he will lead a team driving policy and implementation of leading cyber-practices across federal agencies, including conducting periodic cyber-stat reviews with federal agencies to insure that implementation plans are effective and achieve the desired outcomes.

Grant Schneider meanwhile was named the acting deputy CISO. He currently serves as the director for cybersecurity policy on the National Security Council staff at the White House, where he focuses on development and oversight of cybersecurity policies to protect government data, networks and systems, and brings over 20 years of technical skills to the role.

“Strong cybersecurity depends on robust policies, secure networks and systems and, importantly, a cadre of highly skilled cybersecurity talent,” said Tony Scott, the US CIO, in announcing the appointments. “”Building on the Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy to identify, recruit, and retain top talent, the CISO will play a central role in helping to ensure the right set of policies, strategies, and practices are adopted across agencies and keeping the Federal Government at the leading edge of 21st-century cybersecurity.”

Earlier this year, (ISC)² honored Touhill with a Government Information Security Leadership Award (GISLA) for demonstrating exceptional leadership in securing federal civilian networks, helping the private sector manage cyber-risk, coordinating interagency response to cyber-incidents of national significance, and engaging with Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) international partners.

"I would like to congratulate Brigadier General (retired) Greg Touhill on his new role,” said Dan Waddell, (ISC)² managing director, North America region; and director, US Government Affairs, in a blog. “I'm fortunate to know Brig. Gen. (ret) Touhill personally as a fellow CISSP and have seen firsthand the great work that his team has accomplished at DHS under his guidance. He will be the first to tell you that he had nothing to do with these accomplishments, which is a testament to both his humility and his tremendous leadership skills. To all those in the federal cybersecurity community, be assured that you are getting someone who has dedicated his life to serving and protecting our country in both the Air Force and at DHS. He understands both the challenges and rewards of coming up through the ranks. The combination of his technical and management expertise is exactly what this position requires.”

Photo © Carsten Reisinger/Shutterstock.com

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