Yoran announces his departure

Amit Yoran, the Homeland Security Department's cybersecurity chief, resigned Sept. 30, saying that he has accomplished his goals for the job. He had been there for one year.

Yoran declined to say why he is leaving his post as director of DHS' National Cyber Security Division, but others said he had become frustrated with his inability to "move the ball forward."

"The department made some meaningful progress and built a start-up — that is no trivial activity," Yoran told Federal Computer Week in a telephone interview. "We've hired some fantastic expertise. We've achieved our primary objectives."

Although some observers said Yoran had become frustrated with a perceived lack of authority, he would not comment other than to say, "Working in the government or working in the private sector in any large organization has its unique set of challenges and opportunities. If other people are frustrated, if other people have concerns, that's fine. Let them express that."

"Yoran has been a valuable contributor on cybersecurity issues to the department in the last year, and we have greatly appreciated his efforts in helping to get the division up and running," said Katie Mynster, a DHS spokeswoman.

His departure is a blow to the information technology community, which has been working to forge connections with him and DHS.

"We were just starting to see some moves toward progress," said Greg Garcia, vice president for information security policy and programs at the IT Association of America.

Many expected that Yoran would not be in the position much longer than a year, but "I'm very pleased that Amit interrupted his life to take on this difficult position," said Howard Schmidt, the former cybersecurity adviser to the Bush administration who helped implement the National Strategy for Securing Cyberspace.

Yoran's departure should not affect DHS' work, including a meeting next week with industry leaders to ensure that cooperation on cybersecurity issues is on track, Schmidt said. "There's a whole bunch of people there [who] have been career government employees who have been working hard at this and who will keep things going."

Yoran, 33, said he is not hunting for a job. He intends to spend some time working with a local university to develop a center for children with disabilities. At press time, DHS officials had not identified a replacement for him.

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