Cyber-Czar to Be Named 'Soon'

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 08-24-2006
WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security will be naming a new Assistant Secretary for Cyber and Telecommunications in the very near future, a DHS spokesperson has told eWEEK.

According to Vallee Bunting, a spokesperson for Preparedness Directorate of the DHS, the department is close to the final stages of the hiring process, and should have a candidate named soon.

Currently, the functions of the cyber-czar are being handled by Robert Zitz, Deputy Undersecretary for Preparedness.

"That is to ensure that cyber and national communications issues stay highly visible within department operations," Bunting said, explaining Zitz's role.

Bunting said that finding the right candidate has been difficult. She said that competition with the private sector was a major factor, but so was finding exactly the right person.

"It takes time to find the most qualified candidate for this position," she said.

Bunting declined to say when the new candidate would be announced, other than to say that it would be "very soon."

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff promised that a new cyber-security czar would be appointed over a year ago.

The department has received increasing criticism since then over the delays in hiring a person to fill that job.

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