Landmark Cybersecurity Proposals from White House

This blog was written by Chris Young, McAfee’s former CEO.

It’s great to see the White House leaning forward and taking action to improve our national Cyber Security posture by announcing a Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) and issuing an Executive Order to create a permanent Federal Privacy Council. Both initiatives will improve the national posture on cybersecurity and privacy – issues McAfee believes are closely related.

One CNAP element I’m particularly passionate about is workforce development. I have frequently called for the creation of a ‘cyber corps’ to address the growing cyber skills shortage, so I am pleased that the CNAP includes funding for a CyberCorps Reserve program. A $62 million investment will fund scholarships for Americans who want to obtain cybersecurity education and serve their country in the civilian federal government, as well as increase the number of institutions that offer cybersecurity programs. This is a good first step. To realize the vision, it will take more investment both by government and the private sector.

The security industry has talked at length about how to address the barrage of hacks and breaches we face, but we haven’t brought enough urgency to solving the cybersecurity talent shortage. More than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the United States alone were unfilled last summer, and cybersecurity experts estimate there will be 1.5 million more jobs than takers by 2019. McAfee alone has more than 250 available security jobs in the United States, so we understand the criticality of creating a robust 21st century workforce.

Security and privacy go hand in hand, so I am pleased to see the CNAP specify the creation of a Federal Privacy Council. As the principal interagency forum tasked with improving the privacy practices of federal agencies, the Council will have a major impact on both privacy and security initiatives. This is a significant milestone in efforts to preserve America’s core value of privacy.

mcAfee has frequently commented about the essential link between privacy and security. To put it simply, it takes data to protect data. To provide robust cyber protection, government and the private sector will need to process personal data and share some of that data with other organizations. At the same time, we need the right oversight and controls to help reassure individuals that data relating to them will not be used inappropriately.

We look forward to working with the new Federal Privacy Council to promote privacy while also enabling businesses and government agencies to pursue the innovative use of data. And we’re enthused about working with government and industry to support the development of a CyberCorps, which could operate as a type of Cyber National Guard. The concept deserves our highest attention, and the federal dollars dedicated to it will be extremely well spent.

McAfee is ready to lend assistance.

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