The Pitt News

Obama appoints Gallagher to White House commission

By Dale Shoemaker / News Editor

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President Barack Obama announced Wednesday he would appoint Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and nine others to a White House commission focused on national cybersecurity.

Obama has charged the commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity with identifying steps the U.S. government must take to “ensure our cybersecurity in an increasingly digital world,” according to a White House release. The commission will recommend specific actions the federal government can take over the course of the next 10 years to improve cybersecurity in the public and private sectors.

Obama established the commission through a Feb. 9, Executive Order, which outlined how it will operate. The commission must draft and submit a report to Obama by Dec. 1, 2016, which Obama will either accept or deny 45 days later. The commission will disband 15 days after Obama accepts the commission’s report.

According to University spokesperson Susan Rogers, Gallagher will not be paid for his appointment and will visit the Capitol and conduct teleconferences to complete his work.

Rogers, who noted Gallagher’s past with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Pitt’s ranking in the top 10 universities for cybersecurity studies, said Gallagher’s appointment is a “valuable asset” to the commission.

“Any time one of our leaders, faculty members, researchers, students or alumni are tapped for such service, it reflects on Pitt,”

Rogers said in an email. “[It] adds to the luster of the University’s already high reputation for research and achievement.”

Nine other people, including retired U.S. Army General Keith Alexander, President and CEO of MasterCard Ajay Banga and Chief Security Officer at Uber Joe Sullivan, will serve on the commission alongside Gallagher.

“These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to this important role, and I look forward to receiving the commission’s recommendations,” Obama said in a release.

Prior to serving as Chancellor, Gallagher worked as the director of the NIST and Under Secretary for Standards and Technology at the Department of Commerce from 2009 to 2014 after Obama appointed him.

Gallagher holds a Ph.D. in physics from Pitt, which he received in 1991.

According to Obama’s order, the commission’s recommendations should protect privacy, ensure public safety, economic and national security, foster discovery and development of new technology and bolster partnerships between the government and the private sector.

More specifically, the order said the commission should draw up a framework for how the federal government should set up its IT services and an IT framework for government agencies that incorporates cybersecurity. The commission must also draw up a governing model for managing cybersecurity risk and a list of strategies the government can use to keep pace with industry best practices.

To make its recommendations, Obama’s order said the commission should study existing cybersecurity policies and consult cybersecurity, national security, law enforcement, privacy, management technology and digital economy experts.

In addition, the commission will seek out input from companies or agencies that have experienced a significant cybersecurity threat to learn from the incidents. The commission will also study technological trends and market forces on existing cybersecurity policies and practices.

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Obama appoints Gallagher to White House commission