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US DHS cyber security head to join Chertoff Group

Warwick Ashford

Mark Weatherford, a top cyber official in the US department of homeland security (DHS) has announced he is to join the private sector.

Weatherford, who is credited with forging partnerships among insular federal departments and wary companies, has served as DHS deputy under-secretary for cyber security for five and a half years.

On 1 May, he is to join the Chertoff Group, the consulting firm headed by Michael Chertoff, former US secretary of homeland security in the George W Bush administration, said US reports.

Weatherford has won praise in the DHS for enabling stronger coordination and clearer alignment with the department of defence, National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), department of commerce and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Bruce McConnell, Nebraska Public Power District counselor since the start of the Obama administration, will fill in for Weatherford as acting cyber deputy under-secretary, officials said.

Both men facilitated the recently-issued executive order that directs homeland security to bring critical industries into voluntary compliance with cyber standards and information-sharing protocols.

At the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Summit at RSA Conference 2013 in February, Weatherford highlighted the serious lack of people with cyber security skills.

“This is urgent not only from a general security point of view, but particularly from an economic security point of view,” he said.

Weatherford said the DHS could not find enough people to hire and that there were not enough people in the pipeline to protect companies, critical infrastructures and governments in future.

He called on governments, business and the IT security industry need to work together to make cyber security more visible and attractive as a career.

 


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