White House Names Its First Cyber Security Chief As U.S. Faces High-Profile Digital Attacks

The White House recently appointed Gregory Touhill, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, as the government’s first federal cyber security chief. The position was announced eight months ago as an attempt prevent and defend against hackers.

The position is part of a $19 billion “cyber security national action plan”. Touhill will be responsible for creating and implementing new cyber security plans as well as conducting audits. He will report to Tony Scott, the federal chief information officer and former executive at business software company VMware. Touhill could potentially be replaced when the next president is sworn it, because the position is a political one.

President Obama at National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center
President Obama at a cybersecurity summit

Touhill joined the military over thirty years ago and is a decorated officer with a long list of achievements and assignments. He also holds several degrees in cyber security. Touhill is currently a deputy assistant secretary for cyber security and communications at the Department of Homeland Security. He will be joined by Grant Schneider, cyber security policy director on the White House’s National Security Council.

These appointments come on the heels of several high-profile cyber security attacks. The Clinton Foundation and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were a few of the organizations breached by suspected Russian hacker group Guccifer 2.0 earlier this year. The hackers siphoned data for about seven months from at least 4,000 individuals associated with U.S. politics such as party aides, advisers, lawyers and foundations. Much of the leaked data concerned information about donors. The Trump campaign called for these hackers to recover Clinton’s 30,000 deleted emails.


Last year, Russian hackers were accused of stealing personally identifiable information for over 100,000 taxpayers from the IRS. The hackers stole the identities in order to file nearly $50 million USD in fraudulent tax returns. This has been an ongoing problem since 1997.