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Michael Daniel: White House Seeks ‘Broad, Strategic Picture’ of Cyber

Michael Daniel
Michael Daniel

Michael Daniel, a special adviser at the White House, says cybersecurity encompasses more than its technical aspects as the government seeks to understand and identify potential solutions in that space, GovInfoSecurity reported Thursday.

“Being too down in the weeds at the technical level could actually be a little bit of a distraction,” Daniel told Eric Chabrow in an interview for the website.

Daniel, who says his chief job is to coordinate cyber policy across agencies to make sure they are all moving toward the president’s goals, told the site he believes his role gives him a vantage point to focus on all issues.

He said those issues include not just the technical characteristics but also the economics of why companies invest in cyber and the psychology behind why users act in ways that leave them open to attacks.

“You can get enamored with the very detailed aspects of some of the technical solutions,” Daniel told Chabrow.

“Particularly here at the White House… the real issue is looking at the broad, strategic picture and the impact that technology will have,” he added.

Daniel said it is important to be a generalist who can look at public policy, break down the problem and communicate well so that senior government officials are presented with insights that they can act on.

He also identified what he sees as the biggest challenges in cybersecurity, including an increasing connectedness of people, businesses and critical infrastructure, as well as continuous invention of new ways to collaborate to keep cyber threats in check.

Daniel said that while the government does need programmers and professionals with deep technical knowledge, there is a whole range of talent needed to boost the country’s cyber defense, including traditional experts on the law, law enforcement and national security.

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