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[] US Cybersecurity Agency launched (K. Poulsen),

US Cybersecurity Agency launched
By Kevin Poulsen, SecurityFocus
Posted: 07/06/2003 at 21:48 GMT

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the creation of a new
cybersecurity division Friday, kindling a spark of optimism in
technology industry groups that were losing faith in the government's
commitment to computer security. 

The new 60-person National Cyber Security Division will have three
units, according to the announcement, and will provide "24 x 7

One unit is charged with identifying risks and reducing vulnerabilities
to the government's own systems, as well as critical infrastructures
like the power grid and  telecommunications networks. 

A second unit called the Cyber Security Tracking, Analysis, & Response
Center will focus on the Internet, and attempt to detect and respond to
major online  incidents in coordination with other government agencies,
foreign governments and the private sector. The third unit would create
cybersecurity awareness programs. 

"Most businesses in this country are unable to segregate the cyber
operations from the physical aspects of their business because they
operate interdependently,"  Department of Homeland Security Secretary
Tom Ridge said in a statement. "This new division will be focused on the
vitally important task of protecting the nation's cyber assets so that
we may best protect the nation's critical infrastructure assets." 

The new division is part of the DHS's Information Analysis and
Infrastructure Protection directorate, which absorbed most of the
government's existing cybersecurity agencies in March. The directorate
is headed by former Coca-Cola Corp. security executive Robert Liscouski,
but the new cybersecurity division does not yet have a leader. 

Following a wave of resignations from top government cybersecurity posts
earlier this year, industry groups began worrying publicly that
cybersecurity was receiving short shrift from the Bush administration.
Some of those groups greeted Friday's announcement with cautious

"I think it's a major step forward-- [though] it's certainly not exactly
the way we would have structured it," says Harris Miller, president of
the Information Technology Association of America, a tech industry trade
group. Miller notes that the administration's former cybersecurity czar,
Richard Clarke, had a much 
higher position in government than the unfilled cybersecurity director's
post. "Clarke was a special advisor to the President," says Miller.
"Bureaucratically, it's a big jump down to a division director reporting
to an assistant secretary." 

But the new division clears up some of the confusion over how the DHS's
cybersecurity efforts would be coordinated, says Will Rodger, director
of public policy at the Computer and Communications Industry Association
(CCIA) in Washington, DC. 

"It wasn't clear where how these various groups were going to be
coordinated, or what kind of relationship they were going to have with
one another," Rodger says. "I think what this does is it puts out in
very clear terms what a lot of folks had hoped would happen, in that DHS
is integrating all the disparate elements of cybersecurity under one

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