Mischel Kwon has resigned as the director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team at the Department of Homeland Security. Her departure follows the resignation of Melissa Hathaway, the White House’s Cybersecurity Advisor/Coordinator, earlier this week.
Kwon is the fourth director of U.S. CERT in five years. There is a lot of speculation about Kwon’s departure, with the Washington Post reporting that she ” was frustrated by bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of authority to fulfill her mission, according to colleagues who spoke condition of anonymity.”
In a statement, Deputy Undersecretary for National Protection and Programs Phil Reitinger noted that “President Obama has made cybersecurity a top priority for the Administration.” He also stated that DHS is committed to improving “collaboration between public and private sector partners” on cybersecurity issues.
Expect a lot of commentary in the coming days as to whether these resignations signal a de-prioritization of cybersecurity in the Administration. There also will probably be reports of the need to do a better job of recruiting and retaining qualified candidates in critical cybersecurity positions, especially given the number of individuals who have flipped through DHS and related agencies since 9/11. The situation, however, is a lot more complicated than it seems.
Check back on Monday for a more detailed analysis/explanation of the state of cybersecurity in light of this week’s happenings…