US-CERT director resigns

Head of DHS' operational cybersecurity arm to step down, join RSA

Mischel Kwon, director of the Homeland Security Department’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) since June 2008, has resigned. Meanwhile, RSA, the Security Division of EMC, announced today that Kwon would join the company in early September.

As US-CERT director, Kwon has led DHS’ operational efforts to coordinate cyber-incident detection, warning and response activities for civilian agencies’ networks and systems. US-CERT is the operational arm of DHS’ National Cyber Security Division, and the team also collaborates with state and local governments, industry and international partners to share cybersecurity information.

In a statement issued Aug. 7, Phil Reitinger, deputy undersecretary for DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate and the director of DHS’ National Cybersecurity Center, acknowledged Kwon's contributions.

“We thank Mischel for her service and commend her leadership and the progress she has made at US-CERT over the past year,” Reitinger said.

Since taking over as head of DHS, Janet Napolitano has centralized the department’s cybersecurity functions under Reitinger, whose appointment was announced in March.

Kwon’s resignation was first reported by The Washington Post. An article dated Aug. 8 cited unnamed colleagues who said Kwon was frustrated by bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of authority. The Post article also said Kwon has been the fourth US-CERT director in five years.

Kwon will join RSA as vice president of Public Sector Security Solutions, the company said in a statement. In that role she will advise organizations that want strategic technical and policy assistance in defending their critical infrastructures against cyber threats, attacks and vulnerabilities, RSA said. She will also help develop the strategy and direction for RSA's products and security solutions, the statement said.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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