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The official in charge of coordinating the US government’s cyber-security operations has quit, saying the expanding control of the National Security Agency over the nation’s computer security efforts poses “threats to our democratic processes.”
“Even from a security standpoint, it is unwise to hand over the security of all government networks to a single organization,” said Rod A. Beckstrom, the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Center when speaking to United Press International.
He previously served as Director of the National Cyber Security Center. Prior to that Beckstrom was Chairman and Chief Catalyst of TWIKI.NET, a company which supports TWiki, an open source wiki. He was also co-founder, Chairman and CEO of CATS Software Inc., a derivatives and risk management software company which went public on NASDAQ and later was sold to Misys PLC.
He is co-author of the best-selling book The Starfish And the Spider, which lays out a new organizational theory for considering all organizations as existing on a continuum between centralized to decentralized, with different implications and strategies for each firm based upon their position on that axis. In interviews with The Washington Post and USA Today, Beckstrom explains how, using the 'Starfish' concept illustrated in The Starfish And the Spider, the U.S. Government can take a different approach in their dealings with Al-Qaeda. Mr. Beckstrom is also the formulator of an economic model for valuing networks , Beckstrom's law, which was presented at BlackHat 2009 and Defcon 2009.
An active participant in the non-profit arena, Beckstrom serves on the board of trustees of Environmental Defense Fund, an organization involved in designing, advocating and implementing environmental policy solutions such as the Kyoto Protocol and the California Climate Act. He is also a trustee of Jamii Bora Trust, a micro-lending group with 170,000 members, based in Nairobi.
Beckstrom, a pioneer in the field of derivatives trading and firm-wide risk management, was coached by Nobel Laureate Dr. William F. Sharpe, which resulted in the first book on a new theory, "Value at Risk."
In August 2007, Beckstrom and Peter Thoeny, author of TWiki co-launched TWIKI.NET, a new Web 2.0 company.
On March 20, 2008, Beckstrom was appointed to run the newly created National Cyber Security Center, a position requiring "advanced thought leadership in areas like coordination, collaboration and team work in order to best serve the mission".
Rod received his BA with Honors and Distinction and an MBA from Stanford University, where he served as the Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the Associated Students of Stanford University.