IT firm taps former intelligence official for new cybersecurity arm

Recent hiring decisions and new information security centers show the field's growing importance, analyst says.

Contractor Harris Corp. has hired a former top technology official from the intelligence community to be vice president and general manager of its new cyber information and assurance business, a move one observer said underscores increasing attention to information security.

Dale Meyerrose, who retired as chief information officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last fall, will be responsible for leading all aspects of strategy, business development and program execution for the Melbourne, Fla.-based company's new line of work.

Meyerrose also will oversee the new Harris Center for Information Assurance at the Florida Institute of Technology, and its associated research programs. The center is developing advanced systems that address global information security threats, according to the company.

Harris' enlistment of Meyerrose and the creation of a cyber organization follows Lockheed Martin Corp.'s hiring of retired Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, the former head of the Defense Information Systems Agency, as vice president for cybersecurity solutions in October 2008. The Bethesda, Md., systems integrator also created the Center for Cyber Security Innovation, which Croom oversees.

Bernie Skoch of Jenkintown, Pa.-based Suss Consulting said these hires and the creation of the cybersecurity organizations reflect the increasing importance of information security. This is "where information technology and warfighters will come together in the future," he said.