Meet the U.S.’s First Ever Cyber Chief
Retired Air Force Brigadier Gen. Gregory Touhill just got a promotion.
The White House has named Touhill as the first ever federal chief information security officer, a role that is focused on bolstering the U.S. government’s digital defenses. The Obama administration first announced the creation of the position in February as part of a $19 billion “cybersecurity national action plan” that included IT investments and new hires.
Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.
Touhill currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications within the Department of Homeland Security. In the new job, he will report to Tony Scott, the federal chief information officer and former executive at business software company VMware (VMW).
Touhill will lead a team within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget “that conducts periodic cyberstat reviews with federal agencies to insure that implementation plans are effective and achieve the desired outcomes,” said Scott, the U.S. info chief, and Michael Daniel, U.S. cybersecurity coordinator, in a jointly authored blog post announcing the news. Touhill will be responsible for “helping to ensure the right set of policies, strategies, and practices are adopted across agencies,” they said.
Reuters first reported the news of Touhill’s hire moments before the Obama administration published its blog post.
For more on cybersecurity and politics, watch:
Touhill, who joined the military more than three decades ago, has led teams at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, at the Air Force’s Central Command, and at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. You can read more about his bio on the U.S. Air Force website here.
In a post on Twitter, Richard Bejtlich, chief security strategist at the cybersecurity firm FireEye (FEYE), questioned the longevity of Touhill’s tenure in the face of an upcoming presidential election. “First reaction: will he survive election? Is he an appointee or bureaucrat? Latter might increase staying power,” he said.
The appointment is political, a White House spokesperson clarified in an email to Fortune, meaning that Touhill may serve only briefly in the position because of President Obama’s limited time remaining in office.
The Obama administration also appointed Grant Schneider, cybersecurity policy director on the White House’s National Security Council, as Tuohill’s acting deputy information security chief—a career role, in contrast to Touhill’s. Schneider previously spent seven years as the chief information officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The pair will likely start in their new roles later this month, a person familiar with the hirings told Fortune.
This story has been updated with additional information from the White House.