The George Bush administration will reportedly establish a cyber-security board rather than create a federal chief information officer, or technology tsar.
The idea for such a council, which will be made up of senior national security officials, stems from persistent difficulties in areas such as aerospace and computer exports, and encryption standardisation.
After a review of the entire national cyber-security structure, a meeting was said to have taken place in early July at which President Bush asked officials to prepare a draft executive order to set up the Cybersecurity Board.
The proposed structure would favour a board with representatives from the Defence, State and Commerce Departments, the intelligence community and other agencies, instead of giving cyber-security responsibility to one official, according to a US newspaper report.
Richard Clarke, the long-time national co-ordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counter-terrorism at the White House, is rumoured to be a leading challenger to serve as chairman of the panel.
In a recent interview, Jeffrey Hunker, former senior director for critical infrastructure protection at the National Security Council under former president Bill Clinton, said the backbone of the critical infrastructure protection effort was created "explicitly recognising that this was a new type of challenge and that a tsar-like structure would not work".
Yet Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, and a member of the National Infrastructure Assurance Council, said he would still prefer to see President Bush name a cyber-security tsar in order to give companies and trade groups a single point of contact on security issues.
The decision is likely to be announced in September to coincide with the release of the next version of a national plan for protecting information systems.
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