The White House named Gregory Touhill, a retired US Air Force brigadier general, as the government’s first federal cybersecurity chief, a position announced eight months ago that is intended to improve defenses against hackers, according to Reuters.
Touhill is currently a deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at the Department of Homeland Security. His new job will be to protect government networks and critical infrastructure from cyber threats as federal chief information security officer (CISO).
The report indicates that the Obama administration has made bolstering federal cybersecurity a top priority in his last year in office. The issue has gained more attention because of high-profile breaches in recent years of government and private sector computers.
"In February," stated the official press release, "President Obama announced a Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) that takes a series of short-term and long-term actions to improve cybersecurity posture within the Federal Government and across the country."
Obama announced the new position in February alongside a budget proposal to Congress asking for $19 billion for cyber security across the U.S. government.
Touhill's responsibilities will include creating and implementing policy for best security practices across federal agencies and conducting periodic audits to test for weaknesses, according to the announcement.
Grant Schneider, who is the director of cyber security policy at the White House’s National Security Council, will be acting deputy to Touhill, according to the announcement.