Howard Schmidt, who coordinated the Obama Administration's push for cybersecurity policy and legislation, is stepping down after two-and-a-half years on the job, the Washington Post reports.
Michael Daniel, who heads the intelligence branch of the White House budget office, will take over the post when Schmidt departs at the end of May.
The move comes as the administration is at loggerheads with Congress over cybersecurity and the fate of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). In a policy statement released April 25, the Obama administration hammered at CISPA, arguing the measure would not protect critical infrastructure, on the grounds that it would not protect infrastructure while compromising personal liberties and ceding a domestic law enforcement task to the intelligence community.
Schmidt was also behind a plan to verify individual identities online called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). A $24 million allocation to fund this measure was not included in the House budget for Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. This also prompted a rejoinder from the White House urging funding for NSTIC.
Schmidt served in the air force and civilian law enforcement, and advised the administration of George W. Bush on cybersecurity after the Sept. 11 attacks. He plans to teach cybersecurity issues and spend more time with his family in retirement.
The Business Software Alliance had kind words for Schmidt. "Howard Schmidt has provided tremendous leadership as the country's first Cybersecurity Coordinator," BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman said in a statement.
"More than anyone, he has helped map the issue terrain and chart a comprehensive policy agenda to improve America's cyber readiness. That will put Michael Daniel in a strong position to continue making progress when he takes over. Daniel is a great choice for the job, because he brings deep experience from the years he has spent working on security issues at OMB."