There were news reports late last week that Mischel Kwon, director of the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), had submitted her resignation. According to its website,
"US-CERT is charged with providing response support and defense against cyber attacks for the Federal Civil Executive Branch (.gov) and information sharing and collaboration with state and local government, industry and international partners."
The Washington Postreported that Director Kwon, like Melissa Hathaway, the White House senior aide on cyber security who handed in her resignation earlier this month, also was frustrated "by bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of authority to fulfill her mission."
As we noted here, Rod Beckstrom, Director of National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) resigned in March, because of his frustration with what was happening inside the Obama Administration in regard to cyber security policies.
Last year, both Mischel Kwon and Melissa Hathaway were publicly calling for bolder and faster actions by the US government to combat the cyber security threat - something that has conspicuously not happened after all the administration fanfare of the past several months.
The Post notes that Ms. Kwon was the fourth US-CERT director in five years. Mischel Kwon will be joining RSA's Worldwide Professional Services unit as Vice President of Public Sector Security Solutions in early September, RSA announced yesterday.
Administration officials keep insisting that despite the flurry of resignations, "cyber security [is] a top priority," but few are placing much faith in that statement, I think.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.