DHS cyber lead Reitinger to leave

Wednesday - 5/18/2011, 3:08pm EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Phil Reitinger is moving on from the Homeland Security Department.

Government and industry sources confirm Reitinger, the deputy undersecretary of the DHS's National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), will be leaving on June 3.

Reitinger's announcement comes just days after the White House issued two major cybersecurity strategies - one on international cyberspace and one legislative proposal to give DHS more authorities to protect civilian and commercial networks.

Over the last two-plus years, he has led DHS's efforts to improve cybersecurity across the civilian networks and the work more closely with industry, especially around critical infrastructure protection.

"I have decided that the time has come for me to move on from the department. 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. One of our greatest successes is the high-caliber team we have all built, and I have no doubt of your growing capabilities and continued success," according to an e-mail Reitinger sent to staff today, which was obtained by Federal News Radio.

"I have not made a decision about what I will do next. As you know, I have young children and I have spent less time with them over the past few years than I would like. I intend to spend a lot of time with my family over the summer, and in the course of that decide how I can best play a role in advancing infrastructure protection and cybersecurity."

He added in the e-mail that NPPD's team will continue to focus "on driving outcomes in mitigating risk to infrastructure across its many operational and policy responsibilities, and building OneNPPD."

Rand Beers, the undersecretary for NPPD, called Reitinger's decision to leave a great loss.

In an e-mail to staff, which also was obtained by Federal News Radio, Beers said Reitinger's "leadership, intellectual rigor, enthusiasm, and commitment to the mission and the people of NPPD have been a central feature in making our organization better. I, in particular, will miss him as a true partner in our work here. But we all move on eventually and organizations have to adapt."

Beers said Greg Schaffer, the assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications will be take over for Reitinger in the interim, and Bobbie Stempfley, the deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, will become the acting assistant secretary.

There is no word on who will eventually become the permanent deputy undersecretary replacing Reitinger.

Reitinger joined DHS in March 2009 after being the chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist at Microsoft Corp.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update. For more cybersecurity news, click here.

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