I had the privilege this past weekend to do several non-Beltway speaking engagements. They were in Michigan and included a medical conference, several college classes and a general civic group. I spoke about 9/11, the war in Iraq and Afganistan, my old boss (Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld), terrorism and cybersecurity.
These groups proved to be articulate, well educated and positively starving for information they expected to come from their government. But that did not surprise me as much as the fact that by far I received the most questions about cybersecurity.
These folks knew in their guts that this was a key issue for the nation but also for them as individuals. Given that I had actually thrown out some other potentially “red meat” topics (for any end of the political spectrum), the weight of the cyber focus amazed me.
This told me something very important. Cyber is not a subject only for the denizens of DC or for the tech and security industries. America wants to join the dialog. We need to invite them in.
The National Cyber Education and Awareness Campaign called for by President Obama needs to begin now! OK, this has been (and will continue to be) one of my pet rocks, but I did not go looking for this one – it found me. The need for cyber information is huge and so is the desire to have it.
I urge the President and Secretary Napolitano to end the “studying” of this issue and take action. If nothing else, they should deploy experts around the nation to do hundreds of town hall meetings, and the effort should start tomorrow.