Rod Beckstrom to head NCSS

Published 25 March 2008

DHS taps Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Rod Beckstrom to head new cyber security outfit; Beckstrom’s task is to secure the government IT systems

Government-industry collaboration: The Bush administration has picked Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rod Beckstrom to be the head of the new National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), a division of DHS (DHS). President Bush created the NCSC in January by executive order. Beckstrom will report directly to DHS secretary Michael Chertoff. There are other security agencies within the federal government, such as CERT and the National Cyber Security Division, but these are outward facing entities. Beckstrom’s task is to secure the government systems. In his role as director, Beckstrom will lead efforts to secure vulnerable government and private computer networks, according to a DHS spokesperson. Primarily he will be coordinating other government efforts to secure the entire .gov domain, but he will also be a liaison with private industry to aid them in securing their own networks. “This is one part of the federal government’s effort to secure our federal cyber networks. It will act in concert with other existing agencies and departments within agencies,” a government spokesperson told

Beckström — at 47 he is a few years younger than Bill Gates and Steve Job —started his first software company, CAT Software, at age 24. CATS was a derivatives and risk management software company which went public before being acquired by Misys. He later created Mergent Systems, a distributed product information management system which was acquired by Commerce One in 2000 for $200 million. His latest project was, an open source Wiki development firm. He has also developed a name for himself as an advocate of a new approach to corporate management, and is the co-author of a book called The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, in which he argued that modern firms should not use the hierarchical management structure but instead rely on employees to drive change.