The White House might have a bright, shiny plan for cybersecurity, but it seems unable to keep the security heads it needs to manage and further implement it. No less than the people holding key positions related to the USA’s cybersecurity have resigned in the past few months.
The trend was started in March by Rod Beckstrom, who at the time resigned from his position as head of the National Cybersecurity Center within the Department of Homeland Security. The said center coordinates the defense of civilian, military, and intelligence networks. The reason for Beckstrom’s resignation? As he stated in a letter quoted by the Register, the post was underfunded and unduly controlled by the National Security Agency.
The next person to announce their resignation was Obama’s top cybersecurity director, Melissa E. Hathway. What led to her decision was the long months of delays by the Obama administration in appointing a permanent director to oversee the safety of the nation’s vital computer networks. As the Register points out, Hathway was one of the best candidates for the “cybersecurity czar” position. The czar would hold the authority for securing networks and infrastructure that serve US banks, hospitals and stock exchanges.
The third and most recent top cat in the US government to go is Mischel Kwon, the head of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Washington Post rumor has it that Kwon had grown frustrated by bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of authority to fulfill her mission. And it seems people in her position don’t stick around for too long, she was the fourth US-CERT director in five years.
Hopefully, the critical cybersecurity plan will eventually be implemented, without any further delays and resignations. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!