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Thursday marks a dubious anniversary in the Homeland Security Department’s brief history. A year ago Secretary Michael Chertoff, as part of a department-wide restructuring, announced he would appoint an assistant secretary for cybersecurity and telecommunications. Today, that position remains unfilled.

Chertoff took the first step on Thursday toward elevating the position of national cybersecurity czar from a director-level position to that of an assistant secretary. This would give cybersecurity protection a higher profile within the Department of Homeland Security and give the person in charge of cybersecurity the ear of the under secretary of the Preparedness Directorate, a level of access surpassing what was available to previous cybersecurity czars.[…]

Of course, Homeland Security needs to fill the post first. “I’m without an excuse or a reason as to why this hasn’t been done,” says Paul Kurtz, executive director of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance and a former member of the Bush White House’s National Security Council.

I think it says something that the only person they can get for the job has to rig a deal to be paid double what he’d normally make in the position. However, money isn’t the answer; clout is. People would be lining up down Nebraska Ave. if there was a chance in hell of actually making a difference. When a good soldier like Amit (who doesn’t need the money) bails out, there is no hope. Elevating the position is a transparent move that, had it happened two years ago, would not have been so laughable.

When the department is ready for a dusty, old-school CISSP who is a glutton for punishment, you know where to reach me.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.