US cyber security chief resigns in turf war

Rod Beckstrom, director of the National Cybersecurity Centre, has resigned, in what appears to be a turf war with the National Security Agency (NSA).

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Rod Beckstrom, director of the National Cybersecurity Centre, has resigned, in what appears to be a turf war with the National Security Agency (NSA).

"The National Cybersecurity Center is the only national body created to fulfill the responsibility to protect networks across the civilian, military and intelligence communities," Beckstrom wrote in his resignation letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

"It is the group responsible for pulling together the composite operating picture and situational awareness across government, and has the only national coordination authority on cybersecurity issues."

In his resignation letter, Beckstrom voiced objections to the role of the NSA and objects to a proposal to locate the NCSC at the NSA's headquarters.

Saying the NSA is dominating most of the efforts, Beckstrom added, "While acknowledging the critical importance of the NSA to our intelligence efforts, I believe this is a bad strategy on multiple grounds. 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 organisation, either directly or indirectly."

Beckstrom said he was "unwilling to subjugate the NSCS underneath the NSA," and pointed to achievements the NCSC, with its small staff, has accomplished during his period as director, including supporting the DoD's software programming efforts.

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