Rockefeller and Snowe Issue Joint Statement on Selection of New Cybersecurity Coordinator

December 22, 2009

SCom: CommunicationsWASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Senator Olympia J. Snowe, a senior member of the Committee, issued the following statement today regarding President Obama’s selection of Howard Schmidt to be the new cybersecurity coordinator:

“We commend President Obama for selecting Howard Schmidt as the cybersecurity coordinator. He brings the technical expertise and the depth of private sector and governmental experience needed for this important job.

"As cybercriminals steal millions of dollars at a time in sophisticated cyber-heists, Mr. Schmidt’s added experience in law enforcement is all the more important.

“We urge the President and the National Security Council to ensure that Mr. Schmidt is given the authority within the White House and throughout the Federal government to do what needs to be done to secure our nation’s networks. He must have direct and regular access to the President, and everyone in government and the private sector must know that he is the President’s voice on cybersecurity matters.

“We remain concerned that this cybersecurity coordinator position, even filled by a leader like Schmidt, still does not possess the institutional heft that it needs. That’s why we introduced legislation last spring that will create a Cabinet-level, Senate confirmed National Cybersecurity Adviser within the White House who will report directly to the President. Our legislation is based on the statute that created the U.S. Trade Representative. We believe that cybersecurity is an issue that cuts across all agencies of government and every sector of the U.S. economy, and our national and economic security calls for powerful leadership from the White House.

“Howard Schmidt’s appointment is a step in the right direction - but it is only a first step.”