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Another U.S. Cybersecurity Official Resigns

Government cybersecurity

Any hopes President Obama has of improving the effectiveness of the government's cybersecurity efforts took another hit today.

Mischel Kwon, director of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), submitted her resignation letter this week, according to a story today in the Washington Post.

US-CERT is the operational arm of the DHS's National Cyber Security Division, tasked with defending against cyber attacks for the Executive Branch while collaborating with state and local government, industry and international partners like Carnegie Mellon's CERT Coordination Center.

The Washington Post said it had obtained a copy of Kwon's resignation letter, which indicated she wants her last day to be Sept 2. She is expected to take a position in the private sector.

Kwon is the fourth US-CERT director in the past five years. The Post cited colleagues, speaking on condition of anonymity, who said she had been frustrated by bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of authority to fulfill her mission.

US-CERT could not be reached for comment by press time.

Kwon's departure follows the news earlier this week that Melissa Hathaway, Obama's acting Cybersecurity Czar also submitted her resignation. Hathaway will remain in the post a bit longer this month.

Aneesh Chopra, the federal government's first CTO, lauded Hathaway's performance in response to a question at an event Tuesday night, and said she had been working "24 hours a day on cybersecurity issues."

"Security is a very high priority," Chopra added, noting cybersecurity was "baked in" from the start of the government's plans to establish a nationwide smart grid.

Hathaway, who was considered a top candidate for the permanent position to direct the government's cybersecurity efforts, had reportedly been frustrated by the time it was taking to fill the post.

The position remains unfilled two months after President Obama pledged to personally select someone to fill it.