NEWS

Another Top Level Cyber Security Official Resigns

By Matthew Harwood

Another top cybersecurity official has resigned her post protecting the country's government and civilian networks from cyberattack, due to frustration with the lack of progress in President Obama's cybersecurity efforts, reports The Washington Post.

Mischel Kwon, the director of the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US CERT), submitted her resignation letter this week. "Moving on is a hard step for me, but one I must take," she said, according to the letter obtained by The Washington Post.

Kwon, who is the fourth US-CERT director in five years, was frustrated by bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of authority to fulfill her mission, according to colleagues who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Her departure follows the resignation of the lead White House cybersecurity official, Melissa E. Hathaway, who said last week that she would step down.

In March, another Homeland Security cybersecurity official, Rod Beckstrom, resigned, citing a lack of support inside the agency and what he described as a power grab by the National Security Agency.

The resignations, although unrelated, point to a larger inability of the federal government to hire, retain and effectively utilize qualified personnel, experts said.

It's been over two months since President Obama released his 60-day review of the nation's cyberdefenses. The primary recommendation of that review, which was led by Hathaway, was for the president to appoint a cyberofficial with enough authority to coordinate cyberdefenses across the government's civilian networks as well as with the private sector. The post, which many believed would go to Hathaway, still remains unfilled.

Kwon, like Hathaway, is expected to move to the private sector. As director of US CERT, Kwon was responsible for defending government Web sites with the .gov suffix and pushing out cybersecurity intelligence to the public

She wants her last day on the job to be September 2.


♦ Screenshot of US-CERT Web page

 

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