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FCW : January and February 2017
The Commission on Enhancing Nation- al Cybersecurity delivered a final report in December that included 53 action items. Although many have broad sup- port, the recommendation to unify civil- ian agencies under a single network has raised some eyebrows. An official affiliated with the commis- sion told FCW that having one civilian network “would allow for...a contained way of ensuring email security, encryption, etc., across all agencies. It creates a baseline level of security as well as a level of efficiency and [a way of] looking at the disparate capabilities and resources of the multiple agencies — the idea being that this would ensure secu- rity and efficiency.” The official said the recommenda- tion of creating a centralized .gov net- work would be phased in over time, with agencies gradually joining the net- work and evaluating its effectiveness and security. One individual who has wrestled with a similar question is Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen. He has been working to reduce the number of DOD networks but does not believe the goal for DOD or civilian agencies should be a unified network. “Do I think we could [function] with less networks across the civilian spec- trum just like we are going to continue to reduce some networks in the DOD? Yes,” Halvorsen said at a recent media round- table discussion at the Pen- tagon. But to determine the right number, agencies must first assess what their core missions are, he added. The official affiliated with the commission conceded that not all agencies and functions should necessarily be brought into the common network. “That’s why it’s a phased-in approach — to evaluate the security of it and what should get put on it,” the official said. FCW interviewed two professional hackers who spoke on background because they were not authorized by their organizations to speak with the media. Although they acknowledged that there could be some cost savings and efficiency gains by moving to a common civilian network, they advised against such a move. From a hacker perspective, a single system that contains vast amounts of data becomes a bigger target, they said. They argued that it is safer to have dis- tributed and disconnected systems so that when one is inevitably breached, there is less data to steal and less poten- tial impact. The commission weighed those secu- rity and centralization concerns when making the recommendation, accord- ing to the official FCW spoke with. The question now is whether the Trump administration will accept the recom- mendation and agree to move to one network or instead focus on reducing the overall number of networks. Either way, the official said action is essential. “Saying, ‘Well, we should keep everything as is’ is an excuse for complacency on security.” — Sean D. Carberry Is a unified .gov network the way to go? MCCAUL.HOUSE.GOVTWITTER.COM January/February 2017 FCW.COM 11 agencies had implemented all 17 elements of the FITARA common baseline by the end of fiscal 2016 0 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Jan. 6 that Jerry Horton is now the agency’s CIO, filling a slot vacated by Ash- win Vasan last summer. Horton spent the past two years at the State Depart- ment, where he was the chief architect for the department’s global information presence. Previously, he served as CIO at the U.S . Agency for Interna- tional Development and at the U.S. Mint. President Donald Trump has tapped Reed Cord- ish, a Baltimore- based real estate developer and longtime fam- ily friend, to be a White House tech- nology adviser. Gerrit Lansing, the Republican National Commit- tee’s chief digital officer, will serve as CDO in the Trump White House. And Ory Rinat, the Heritage Foundation’s director of digital strategy, is report- edly advising the Trump team as well. Greg Touhill, who was appointed the first governmentwide chief infor- mation security officer in Septem- ber 2016, stepped down on Jan. 17. Touhill had said in October that he hoped to stay on through the transi- tion but acknowledged that, like all appointees, “I’m on a Cinderella clock.” The federal chief technology offi- cer is now a Senate-confirmed post, thanks to legislation signed on Jan. 6 by then-President Barack Obama. — FCW staff FCW INSIDER Terry Halvorsen Jerry Horton Ory Rinat 0217fcw_003-011.indd 11 1/25/17 9:30 AM
November and December 2016