Details about Rice's position are unknown, but he is expected to begin work at Apple in March, according to AllThingsD.
Rice, a former NSA analyst and security officer for the U.S. Navy, has spent the last few years as the director of The Monterey Group, a computer security consulting firm in Salinas, Calif. He is also the author of, "Geekonomics: The Real Cost of Insecure Software" and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. With his work at think tanks and in the national eye, Rice is a high-profile hire -- much like Apple's hire of Ivan Krstic, former head of security of "One Laptop Per Child" and Window Snyder, former security chief for Mozilla.
While Rice has a reputation for putting corporate officers at ease, but he has also been a supporter of a "bug tax," or a tax on companies who release software that need fixes -- the more frequent or severe, the higher the fee. In the past, he has also been openly critical of Apple's security.
Perhaps Apple is really attempting to find a head of security who will be proactively patrolling against security flaws. Someone who can give users a relatively bug-free experience and solidify Apple's global reputation.