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Howard Schmidt to step down as White House Cyber Czar

Warwick Ashford

White House Cyber Czar Howard Schmidt is stepping down after two-and-a-half years in the role.

He is retiring to spend more time with his family and to pursue teaching in the cyber field, according to the Washington Post.

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Schmidt had signed up for a two year stint, but had agreed to stay on a little longer.

Schmidt was president of the Information Security Forum and based in the UK when he was named as US national cybersecurity coordinator in December 2009.

Since then, he has overseen the creation of the White House’s first legislative proposal on cybersecurity and been one of the driving forces behind a plan to verify individual identities online called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC).

The departure comes at a time when the Obama administration still has much work to do to ensure the protection of the computer systems of companies that provide electricity and other critical services, the paper said.

The administration is also at loggerheads with Congress over a lack of funding for NSTIC and the fate of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which the White House believes is inadequate to protect critical infrastructure.

Schmidt previously served as a White House adviser on cyber issues during the administration of President George W. Bush. He is also a former US Air Force officer and chief information security officer at Microsoft.  

Michael Daniel, who heads the intelligence branch of the White House budget office, will take over the post when Schmidt leaves at the end of May.


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