Microsoft Executive Appointed To Head DHS Cybersecurity

Philip Reitinger, currently Microsoft's chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist, was appointed by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano as the deputy undersecretary of the department's National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). In his new role, Reitinger will head efforts to protect the U.S. government's computer infrastructure from both domestic and foreign security threats.

"Phil's background in cybersecurity and computer crime, coupled with his experience working across the federal government and the private sector to develop innovative security strategies, makes him an asset to our department," Napolitano said in a statement.

At Microsoft, Reitinger was responsible for enhancing security for the company's critical IT infrastructure, which allowed him to closely collaborate with government agencies and private corporate partners on cybersecurity protection programs and issues.

Reitinger comes to the job with a long resume of experience in cybercrime issues and public policy.

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As a current member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Advisory Council, he specializes in advising FEMA administrators on aspects of cybersecurity related to emergency management.

He also has a reputation as an expert on computer crime and policy, gained in part from serving as a former executive director of the U.S. Department of Defense's Cyber Crime Center, where he provided departmentwide electronic forensic services and supporting cyberinvestigative functions.

Prior to his position at the DOD, Reitinger served as deputy chief of the computer crime and intellectual property division at the U.S. Department of Justice, working under Scott Charney, who is currently corporate vice president for trustworthy computing at Microsoft.

Reitinger's appointment comes days after the resignation of Rod Beckstrom, who served as director of DHS's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC). Beckstrom, who worked as the nation's cyberczar for only a year, submitted his letter of resignation last Friday to DHS's Napolitano, maintaining that his division lacked funding and support from the rest of the department. He also expressed concern that the NCSC, as well as the NPPD, would be taken over by the National Security Administration.

Beckstrom said in his resignation letter that his division received only five weeks of funding, and "did not receive appropriate support inside DHS during the last administration to fully realize this vital role."