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Just over a year ago, I was invited to join ongoing discussions with retired Lt. General Harry Raduege, Scott Charney and Representatives Langevin and McCaul, as well as other industry, academia, and government representatives who were engaged in an impassioned debate. The topic? Cybersecurity strategy and direction for the next President. How would we advise the incoming President about protecting and securing our country’s information systems?

Formulated within the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), we discussed the evolving online threats, how our current approaches and technologies stack up against these threats, and how these factors – and others – impact the online world in ways that affect U.S. critical infrastructure and our way of life. In late December 2008, we completed a report of our recommendations, and shortly after that the Comprehensive Cyber Security 60-day review was completed.

Fast-forward to this past December 22. President Obama’s appointment of Howard Schmidt as U.S. Cybersecurity Coordinator should regenerate the momentum needed for the U.S. – and the world – to protect national and economic interests online. Mr. Schmidt is faced with the arduous task of reinvigorating and building upon the significant efforts to date, forging new relationships while expanding upon collaborations already underway between the private and public sectors, and international leaders.

Now is the time to accelerate our leadership. Most significantly, we should build upon and deliver against the recommendations drawn out in the CSIS’ report and deliver quickly. It’s time for us to take the necessary steps to further protect our nation and help to make our world a safer place to live, work and play.

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