updated 9/18/2006 6:47:57 PM ET 2006-09-18T22:47:57

The White House has chosen an industry information security specialist as its cybersecurity chief, an official said Monday, filling a job that has had no permanent director for a year.

Greg Garcia will be nominated later this week as the Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for cybersecurity and telecommunications, said a department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made. He will replace acting cybersecurity director Donald "Andy" Purdy Jr., who is a two-year contract employee on loan from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Garcia, vice president of the Information Technology Association of America, did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Carnegie Mellon has received $19 million in contracts from Homeland Security's cybersecurity division this year under Purdy's oversight.

The cybersecurity job was created in July 2005, but department officials have struggled to find candidates willing to take significant pay cuts from industry jobs to fill it.

A test of mock Internet attacks concluded last week that government and industry officials were widely unable to fight back quickly and effectively against a series of simulated hackings that aimed to halt subways and trigger power outages.

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