DHS' info assurance chief resigns

Frank Libutti today tendered his resignation as undersecretary for information assurance and infrastructure protection at the Homeland Security Department.

The department did not disclose when he would step down, and Libutti declined to detail where his career will take him next. DHS has named no interim chief.

Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge praised Libutti. "His leadership and vision during the department's first years have enabled us to lay the groundwork for a new intelligence unit dedicated to the unique mission of protecting the homeland while also working tirelessly with the private sector to improve the security of our nation's critical infrastructure," Ridge said in a statement.

Libutti, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, worked to build the directorate from scratch after DHS opened for business in 2003. Libutti and other directorate officials largely were concerned with the task of recruiting a cadre of intelligence analysts for the organization. They also worked to bring IT tools to the fledgling directorate, a job that remains only partially complete.

The Homeland Security Act assigned IAIP the responsibility for coordinating homeland security information. But other federal organizations, such as the intelligence community's Terrorist Threat Integration Center, FBI and Defense Department agencies with homeland defense responsibilities brought more money and personnel to the task.

IAIP's role as a supporting actor in the homeland security intelligence arena is reflected in its systems infrastructure, which pales in comparison to the globe-girdling networks of its institutional competitors.

The intelligence reform bill signed into law this week by President Bush further strips the directorate of authority over counterterrorism investigations and information sharing.

Libutti fought to retain control over protecting the nation's cyberspace and repeatedly stated that cyberinfrastructure protection must go hand in hand with physical infrastructure protection. But lawmakers battled to remove cybersecurity functions from the directorate's oversight and to elevate them to a more prominent role within DHS.

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