Reitinger quits DHS cybersecurity post

Deputy Undersecretary Philip Reitinger, the top cybersecurity executive at the Department of Homeland Security, is set to leave June 3.

"With significant progress having been made in activities across NPPD, with growing recognition of DHS's roles and authorities, and the cybersecurity legislative proposal now delivered to the Hill, it's a logical point for me to leave the Department of Homeland Security and allow the team that we have developed together to carry our initiatives forward," Reitinger told his staff in an email.

His announced departure follows a busy cybersecurity week for The Obama Administration. Late last week, The White House unveiled a major cybersecurity proposal aimed at protecting critical U.S. infrastructure. Monday, the White House -- in an event featuring four cabinet secretaries -- launched its international cybersecurity strategy.

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As for Reitinger's impending departure, the GovInfoSecurity website posted the following:

A new deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate hasn't been selected. Greg Schaffer, DHS assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, will serve as acting deputy undersecretary. Bobbie Stempfley, deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, will fill in for Schaffer.

Citing executive privilege, top White House cybersecurity officials such as Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt would not testify before congressional panels. Often, the administration sent Reitinger to articulate the administration's views on cybersecurity at congressional hearings.

The chairman of one of those panels, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, credited Reitinger as being instrumental in building DHS's cyber capabilities and developing an excellent leadership team. "The department has made tremendous strides in its cyber capabilities over the past few years, and Phil's energy and expertise will be missed," said Lieberman, ID-Conn.

Reitinger's boss, Undersecretary Rand Beers, characterized Reitinger's departure as a great loss.

"His leadership, intellectual rigor, enthusiasm and commitment to the mission and the people of NPPD have been a central feature in making our organization better," Beers said in an email to directorate employees.

--Bill Brenner

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