FedScoop interview: Germany CIO Cornelia Rogall-Grothe

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Cornelia Rogall-Grothe (Photo: David Stegon/FedScoop) Cornelia Rogall-Grothe (Photo: David Stegon/FedScoop)

As Germany’s State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Federal Government Commissioner for Information Technology, Cornelia Rogall-Grothe is the equivalent of U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rolled into one.

Rogall-Grothe is responsible for the strategic IT security guidelines in Germany’s federal administration and is involved in all proposed legislation and other government projects significantly affecting IT in public administration.

She heads the National Cyber Security Council that aims to enhance cybersecurity cooperation within the federal government and public and private sectors. Under State Secretary’s Rogall-Grothe’s leadership, in February 2011, Germany implemented a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, which includes establishing objectives and measures to protect critical infrastructure, control crime in cyberspace and coordinate cybersecurity efforts across borders.

And at the top of her mind these days is? How to expand Germany’s cybersecurity partnerships around the world, including that with the United States.

In a recent interview with FedScoop, Rogall-Grothe explained through a translator that one of the biggest aspects of cybersecurity going forward isn’t just individual countries securing its own networks, but international allies working together for the great good.

“Our authorities and agencies closely cooperate with the United States, but also with other countries as well,” Rogall-Grothe said. “I think in the area of cybersecurity and crime it is very important that we cooperate, because perpetrators and criminals also act at an international level and for this reason we must act to operate at an international level too.”

One of the best ways to prepare for that, she said, is cybersecurity joint exercises – something she and her government recently participated in and something the United States was invited to join.

“We exercised the possible cyber attack within the frame of office exercise,” Rogall-Grothe said. “We also invited colleagues from other countries to participate and the United States did in fact participate in this exercise. We were also invited together with colleagues from other countries. I think that all these joint activities and joint exercises show that cooperation works very well.”

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