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Obama names Howard Schmidt cybersecurity coordinator

By Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Ellen Nakashima and Debbi Wilgoren:

Seven months after President Obama vowed to "personally select" an adviser to orchestrate the government's strategy for protecting computer systems, the White House on Tuesday tapped a former Bush administration official for the job.

Howard A. Schmidt, who was a cyber-adviser in President George W. Bush's White House, will be Obama's new cybersecurity coordinator, an administration official said Monday night. A letter announcing the appointment was posted on the White House Web site early Tuesday.

The letter said Schmidt will "have regular access to the President and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff. He will also work closely with his economic team to ensure that our cybersecurity efforts keep the Nation secure and prosperous."

Schmidt, who declined to comment Monday, will have a challenging mission: to coordinate cybersecurity policy across the federal government, from the military to civilian agencies. His appointment comes as the Pentagon launches a major new "cyber-command" unit up and running and the Department of Homeland Security works to improve protection of civilian networks.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | December 22, 2009; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Revolving Door  
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