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Director of National Cyber-Security Center Resigns

A couple days ago I posted some thoughts on Data Security and the US Government, how I perceive the role of Cybersecurity, and what I suspected would be a difficult challenge as the Cybersecurity team was set up at cross-purposes with the intelligence community. Today the Wall Street Journal released an article on the resignation of National Cybersecurity Chief Rod Beckstrom. In a case of “even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut”, my estimate of internal conflict appears to already be going on. In his resignation letter, Mr. Beckstrom stated that the “NSA currently dominates most national cyber efforts” and “The intelligence culture is very different than a network operations or security culture”. The WSJ focuses on privacy and separation of power issues with additional comments from Mr. Beckstrom: “the threats to our democratic process … if all top level network security and monitoring are handled by any one organization”.

The resignation letter has a different feel and focus, pointing out that there was a general lack of support for the NCSC, and the specific ways Beckstrom feels his organizations was subjugated. If you have interest in this subject, you will want to read his resignation letter, as it contains more information. It also lists a couple methods by which the NSA can subtly (sneakily?) affect the effectiveness of Cybersecurity efforts that I did not mention in my post. Quite frankly I am surprised that the National Cybersecurity Center could somehow manage to only get 5 fully funded days of operation, but if true, this demonstrates the challenges faced by NCSC.

This could get ugly unless both sides understand that each organization can benefit the other, and realize the goals and agendas do not necessarily need to be at the expense of each other. Concessions have to be made, otherwise this is an expensive and ugly turf war and the entire security problem- which is quickly becoming a US government security problem- continues to fester.

—Adrian Lane

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