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Monday, June 22, 2009

Tom Davis Being Considered for a Position in the Obama Administration?

Too Conservative is reporting that Tom Davis may be considering a job in the Obama administration. My initial reaction was skepticism but here's more from Time Online. According Time:
Tom Davis, a moderate Republican from Virginia, has emerged as a leading candidate for the Obama Administration's newly created position of cybersecurity czar. Sources familiar with the White House's deliberations on the subject say Obama officials feel a Washington power player would make a better candidate than a tech guru. "They want someone who understands technology issues, but more importantly, knows how to get things done in Washington," says a cybersecurity expert who has been consulted by the White House. "There are very few people who have that combination of skills, and Davis is at the top of that short list."
As Time pointed out, Tom Davis has deep connections to the DC IT private sector and is a government insider who knows his way around the halls of power. In fact, as retired Major General Dale Meyerrose, from consulting firm Harris Corp, and former chief information officer for the director the National Intelligence, pointed out, the job of cybersecurity czar would be more administrative than technical and would involve grappling with issues like what would be the role of government, what would be the role our allies should play, what role would other nations play, and other similar policy questions that require more than just IT technical skills.

Many of those most knowledgeable about the selection have urged President Obama not to pick a high tech guru, but to go with a generalist who is also familiar with Washington politics and can answer those broader policy questions. Meyerrose also said, "Most of the issues have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with getting things done in a bureaucracy and making things known to the public."

And others seem to back up that position:

Rod Beckstrom, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, points out that Obama's nominee will need political skills to deal with the many voices that will want to be heard on cybersecurity, including many government departments — the Pentagon, various intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security, among others — and private-sector bodies. "There's a lot of rice in this particular rice bowl," Beckstrom says. He knows from personal experience how difficult that can be: earlier this year, he quit as Director of the National Cybersecurity Center in March, citing interdepartmental politics.
Of course, Davis is not the only candidate under consideration for this post.

Davis is not the only candidate with Washington cred. Another leading candidate is Melissa Hathaway, who led Obama's 60-day cybersecurity review and previously advised President George W. Bush on cybersecurity issues. Also in the running are Frank Kramer, who was assistant defense secretary for international security affairs under President Bill Clinton, and Howard Schmidt, another adviser to Bush on cyberspace security and protection of critical infrastructure. Schmidt also has extensive private-sector experience, including stints with eBay and Microsoft, where he was chief security officer.

Others in contention include Paul Kurtz, an Obama adviser who served in the National Security Council under both Bush and Clinton, and former FBI intel boss Maureen Baginski. Dark horses from the private sector include Sun Microsystems' Susan Landau and Scott Charney, currently head of Microsoft's cybersecurity division.
One thing I am struck by is that all of the candidates have genuine bi-partisan credentials, many having served both the Bush and Clinton administrations. And we all know that Barack Obama has not given up his quest to appoint the very best bi-partisan candidates he can find to his administration.

I have to admit that, personally, I have mixed feelings about Tom Davis being in the Obama administration. I spent so many years supporting good people who ran against him in the 11th CD. But compared to today's Republican Party he is a moderate. One who has not been treated all that well by his fellow party members of late. And he's been outspoken about his party's problems. While he's certainly not the only one being considered, he is an interesting choice.

15 comments:

Freddie said...

Jeanmarie for Czarina!

Anonymous said...

No not a Republican they are the enemy.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, if Davis is picked, it would be difficult for him to campaign against his boss' pick for Virginia Governor, now, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

Well Karen if you go against him he will surely win. Look at your last endorsements, that didn't work out to good did it ? You never have been very good in that dept. have you ?

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Oh, I don't know 10:54 - Obama in 2008, Webb in 2006, Kaine in 2005 - it seems I have a pretty good track record in the general elections. I'm ok with that :)

BTW, Davis is not running for anything so it's not my decision to be for or against. I'd never begrudge a guy for wanting to make a living.

Anonymous said...

Were they your last endorsements ? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Karen didn't you say Davis was a candidate? So which way is it ?

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Honestly people, a candidate for a job doesn't mean he's running for office.

He's in consideration for an appointed position. I am not endorsing him for anything. I am merely reporting that he is being considered for a position with with the Obama administration. BTW, Time Online, which I quoted and source, also calls himself a candidate for the position.

If you apply for a job, you are considered a candidate for the position.

28thamendment said...

As a matter of politics, I wouldn't be opposed to Davis working for Obama (Davis needs a job until he can run for Jim Webb's seat in 2012, right?).

But on the policy side, I would honestly hope that the cybersecurity czar would be someone who has spent a good portion of his/her life in the IT, defense or communications sectors.

To me, Davis would be a good person to head up transportation initiatives, but for issues of cyberterrorism, I'd like to see someone who has spent the last decade following the new developments in computer technology and has contemplated how to defend company or country from infiltration.

Eileen Rosenblatt said...

That should read, "Davis is the only candidate with Washington CRUD (not cred).

"Moderate" Davis did nothing to defend our civil liberties while he was in office and marched along with the Bush Neocons on most of their Constitution shredding journey.

Obama should not merely walk, he should run away from the Davis ego-twins.

Anonymous said...

Obama should run from Davis ? Why?

Chris said...

Tom Davis serving in the Obama administration will make it impossible for him to ever win his party's nomination for Senate or anything else. This will destroy his already non-existent future in GOP politics, so I say go for it.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Actually, Davis announced today that he was never interested. This was probably a trial balloon and nothing more.

Anonymous said...

Davis is a perfect fit for the Obama royal court.

Bwana said...

A Davis selection or someone like him is consistent with the Obama MO...select someone with Washington connections or political moxy and have them run the shop while have those with technical expertise on the team but not as the public leader.