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Cybersecurity chief resigns, dings NSA
Published: 2009-03-07

The director of the National Cybersecurity Center, Rod Beckstrom, tendered his resignation on Friday, saying that he was "unwilling to subjugate" his office to the National Security Agency.

Beckstrom, a former entrepreneur and risk analyst, joined the U.S. government last March, tasked by President Bush to form a group under the Department of Homeland Security to bring together operational information and coordinate between the varied agencies that have some responsibility for policing cyberspace. The NCSC did not, however, receive appropriate support from the DHS and was only funded for five weeks, Beckstrom stated in his resignation letter, provided to several media outlets.

In addition, the cybersecurity official fought against moving the NCSC and the National Protection and Programs Directorate to an NSA facility.

"NSA currently dominates most national cyber efforts," Beckstrom wrote in his criticism of the intelligence agency. "The intelligence culture is very different than a network operations or security culture. In addition, the threats to our democratic processes are significant if all top-level government network security and monitoring are handled by any one organization — either directly or indirectly."

The resignation comes as the Obama administration embarks on a 60-day review of the nation's cybersecurity strategy and as support for the NSA's role in policing cyberspace has grown among some government officials and security analysts. Last week, the top U.S. intelligence official urged a greater role for the NSA in protecting the nation's cyberspace, echoing a former Obama advisor's suggestions last month.

In his letter of resignation, Beckstrom stated that the NCSC successfully created a plan of operation, formed a coordination council, developed a better model of valuing cyber assets, and helped the Department of Defense "in their quest to develop a world class Web 2.0 cyber operations platform." In addition, the NCSC helped brainstorm the idea of a National Cyber Center, which would bring together information from state and local government, federal agencies and the private sector.

Beckstrom plans to leave the position on March 13.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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Cybersecurity chief resigns, dings NSA 2009-03-08
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