DHS cyber exec resigns


DHS cybersecurity leader Andy Ozment is leaving federal service on Jan. 7.

Andy Ozment, the Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, has resigned from the position.

Ozment's last day at the department will be Jan. 7, DHS officials confirmed to FCW. Danny Toler, deputy assistant secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications, will assume Ozment's responsibilities.

Ozment, who is among the top leaders at the National Protection and Programs Directorate, has been a relatively high-profile face for DHS cybersecurity efforts, testifying before Congress and speaking in other about a host of cybersecurity and infrastructures issues, as well as leading the investigation into the Office of Personnel Management breach that exposed more than 20 million federal personal records.

Ozment's office assists both the private sector and government responding to cyber incidents, sharing information, developing and spreading best practices. NPPD oversees a budget of more than $1 billion and leads a workforce of over 600 federal employees and several thousand support personnel.

DHS said Ozment has led the federal response to dozens of incidents in the government and private sector. Ozment also went to the Ukraine to better understand and share information about the cyberattack against a power company there that turned off electricity to over 200,000 customers.

Ozment, a two-time Federal 100 winner for his work on cybersecurity, has been a constant and public presence for the Obama administration on the issue. Along with NPPD Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding and Deputy Undersecretary of Cybersecurity and Communications Phyllis Schneck, he pushed for more centralization between cyber and infrastructure protection. All three back NPPD's push to elevate and operationalize the directorate into an agency of DHS, called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency.

That plan is still awaiting action in Congress. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a Dec. 7 speech that legislation backing the reorganization "will be one of my highest priorities in 2017."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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