recommended reading

White House Names First Chief Information Security Officer

Andrea Izzotti/

The White House named its first-ever chief information security officer Thursday, part of its broader effort to shore up cyber practices after last year's massive intrusion into federal background check databases.

The administration named Gregory Touhill, the Homeland Security Department's deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, and a retired Air Force brigadier general, to the top information security position. Grant Schneider, the National Security Council's cybersecurity policy director and former Defense Intelligence Agency chief information officer, was named acting deputy CISO.

The White House's Cybersecurity National Action Plan, announced in February and overseen by U.S. CIO Tony Scott, outlined the need for a federal CISO. That plan was issued alongside President Obama's 2017 budget, which proposed raising IT security spending by 35 percent. Those proposals came months after news surfaced that a massive hack into the records held by the Office of Personnel Management exposed sensitive information on more than 20 million people.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

In his new role, Touhill's responsibilities will include driving "cybersecurity policy, planning and implementation" across federal agencies, and also leading periodic reviews of agencies' progress, according to the White House blog post. The Cybersecurity National Action Plan noted the CISO would be involved with the  White House's proposed $3.1 billion IT modernization fund—a pot of money to which agencies could apply for specific technology projects.

One of the CISO's most important roles will be to "pull together all of the people in the federal government and make sure we have a well-thought through and then executed strategy in terms of how all of those entities work together,” Scott said at an April event.

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen laptop

Wireless Heart Monitor Maker to Pay $2.5M Settlement to HHS After Laptop Stolen

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.