Underscoring its policy emphasis on global Internet development, interoperability, and security, in 2011 the Obama administration created the position of Coordinator for Cyber Issues within the U.S. State Department. The first coordinator is Christopher Painter, a veteran of twenty years working on internet and cyber issues.
Painter worked in President Barack Obama's White House immediately before taking the state department job. His experience there included:
- acting as senior director for cyber security policy on the National Security staff
- serving as senior member of the team that conducted the president's cyberspace policy review
- serving as acting cyber security coordinator
- helping develop Obama's International Strategy for Cyberspace
- chairing high-level interagency groups devoted to international and other cyber issues
Previously, Painter, a graduate of Stanford Law School and Cornell University, also worked as:
- assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles prosecuting cyber crimes
- leader of case and policy efforts for the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Department of Justice
- deputy assistant director of the F.B.I.'s Cyber Division
- chair of G8 High Tech Crime Subgroup
In announcing Painter's assumption of the coordinator's job, the State Department said, "[Painter]will bring together the many elements in the State Department working on cyber issues to more effectively advance U.S. cyber interests. In this capacity, he will coordinate the Department's global diplomatic engagement on cyber issues; serve as the Department's liaison to the White House and federal departments and agencies on these issues; advise the Secretary and Deputy Secretaries on cyber issues and engagements; serve as a liaison to public and private sector entities on cyber issues; and coordinate the work of regional and functional bureaus within the Department engaged in these areas."
In July 2011, Painter led the U.S. interagency delegation to the East Africa Workshop on Cyber Security in Nairobi, Kenya. He also gave the keynote address.
The State Department described the workshop as "a partnership between the U.S. and Kenyan governments, . . . [to] address broad issues on cyber crime and cyber security while focusing discussions on issues of specific interest to East Africa, such as mobile cellular security and the development of national computer emergency response teams."