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MS hires security chief to win federal homeland contracts

Snuggling up to Washington

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Microsoft has hired a Director of Federal Homeland Security, a job which despite the possibly misleading title involves working for Microsoft while dealing with the US government's Office of Homeleland Security, rather than vice versa. Or perhaps not.

The occupant is Thomas Richey, formerly with the US coastguard and most recently an adviser to Senator John Kerry. Richey has worked on and off with Kerry for some time, so the Boston Globe tells us, and that relationship could come in handy for Microsoft if Kerry runs for President in 2004.

Richey will help establish Microsoft "as a strategic partner to the government" in the development of homeland security strategy, says Microsoft, in rather more muted tones than those of the original job ad, which made practically no bones about the job being to lobby determinedly for the use of Microsoft products in homeland security infrastructure. To quote some of our previous piece:

The job also involves 'helping' the Office of Homeland Security decide what it is that it's going to ask companies like Microsoft for, before it officially asks. The director will "lead Microsoft's responses to Office of Homeland Security related RFIs and RFPs" but will also "be proactive in influencing requirements prior to RFI/RFP stage." We understand this is a process Microsoft has successfully beta-tested with a smaller country's government, also beginning with U.

Part and parcel of this proactivity will be to "develop and maintain strong relationships with key influential government executives" and to "establish oneself as a trusted advisor to the Office of Homeland Security staff."

Go for it, Thomas. ®

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