Cybersecurity Implementation Slow

A seven-month lag in naming a coordinator has contributed to slowness in implementing key recommendations of a cyber policy review, a report from the Government Accountability Office says. Only two of President Obama’s 24 cyber policy recommendations have been implemented to date.

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson requested the GAO study in his role as head of the House Homeland Security Committee. In a statement reported by Eric Chabrow, executive editor of GovInfoSecurity, Thompson said he found the report “troubling.”

One of the recommendations implemented was the appointment of a cybersecurity coordinator. Obama named Howard Schmidt to the job last December, seven months after the recommendation was made. While the post was vacant, roles and responsibilities went unassigned, the report says.

The departments of Defense and Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget say they have initiatives planned or under way to implement the 22 outstanding recommendations. However, the report notes that specific responsibilities and milestones have not been identified. “Until these roles and responsibilities are made clear and the schedule and planning shortfalls identified above are adequately addressed, there is increased risk the recommendations will not be successfully completed," David Powner, director of IT management issues at the GAO, wrote in the 66-page report.

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