Though [Mischel Kwon, director of the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team] has a new job, The Washington Post reported that Kwon's colleagues attributed her departure partly to frustration with "bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of authority to fulfill her mission."Turf wars can't be laid at Obama's feet, but if he was serious about security, he might issue some directions. (Everyone fighting over turf does report to the administration.)
Kwon's departure marks the third cybersecurity official to step down during the Obama administration's tenure, and the third who has cited a lack of empowerment as one of the reasons for resigning. Rod Beckstrom quit as director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Center earlier this year, citing a turf war with the National Security Agency. Last week, White House acting senior director for cyberspace Melissa Hathaway resigned, telling The Washington Post that she didn't feel "empowered to continue to drive change."
Despite President Obama's promise in May to appoint a federal cybersecurity coordinator, the position remains unfilled. That, coupled with the resignations of Hathaway and Kwon, has prompted concerns that cybersecurity isn't the priority Obama said it would be for his administration.
Cybersecurity has increasingly become a high-profile issue in government. According to US-CERT, cybersecurity incidents have almost tripled in the last three years. The Department of Defense recently spent more than $100 million over six months defending against attacks. Recent attacks have taken down federal agency Web sites, infiltrated the power grid, and stolen sensitive data on an Air Force fighter jet.So is this not a priority?
Don't think it will come up in any town-hall meeting, but that doesn't mean it isn't important.