Obama picks Tom Donilon to lead cybersecurity effort

Obama picks Tom Donilon to lead cybersecurity effort
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President Obama named former national security adviser Tom Donilon on Wednesday to lead a new federal commission tasked with enhancing the nation's cybersecurity.

Obama also chose former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano to serve as Donilon's deputy.

The president announced the appointments in an Oval Office photo-op.


Obama said the group will tackle an issue that the public increasingly understands as "one of our greatest challenges." 

"The Internet has brought incredible opportunity, incredible wealth, good access to data and information, that are enhancing our lives in all sorts of ways,” the president said. “It also means that more and more of our lives are being downloaded and stored... and as a consequence we're a lot more vulnerable." 

The commission was set up on Feb. 9 to establish a long-term road map for protecting the nation's computer systems following a string of massive cyberattacks, including one at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The panel, which will include top industry representatives and leading technologists, will deliver a report to him by Dec. 1, the president said. 

“The commission will make recommendations on actions that can be taken over the next decade to strengthen cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors while protecting privacy,” the White House said when announcing its plan.

The task force is part of a broader cybersecurity proposal the White House rolled out with its annual budget proposal earlier this month.

As part of the plan, the Obama administration is establishing a new senior federal cyber official, the first senior position focused solely on digital security strategy.

The White House is also asking Congress for an unprecedented $5 billion boost in federal cybersecurity funding, a 35-percent increase over last year’s $14 billion allotment.

This story was updated at 4:25 p.m.