CISA infrastructure security official Brian Harrell steps down

Brian Harrell speaks Oct. 2, 2019, at the Public Sector Innovation Summit presented by VMware and produced by FedScoop and StateScoop. (Scoop News Group)


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Brian Harrell, a senior official in charge of physical infrastructure protection at the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, resigned his post on Thursday and is headed to the private sector.

“During my time at [the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency], we have responded to hurricanes and historic floods, provided expertise after mass-shootings, engaged thousands of critical infrastructure owners and operators, and we are now providing the private sector assistance during COVID-19,” Harrell wrote in a resignation letter to President Donald Trump.

Harrell, a former security executive in the electric sector, Harrell joined DHS in December 2018. He has helped organize cybersecurity drills for critical infrastructure companies, including the recently completed “Cyber Storm” exercise, which drew 2,000 participants. Harrell also helped run CISA’s security team for the last two Super Bowls.

Starting Monday, CISA Deputy Assistant Director Steve Harris will fill Harrell’s role in an acting capacity, an agency spokesperson said.

In his previous role as a security executive at Duke Energy, a utility with some 8 million customers, Harrell oversaw penetration tests of the company’s networks and responded to security incidents.

Harrell’s departure follows that of Grant Schneider, the former federal chief information security officer, who announced this week he was also leaving the Trump administration for the private sector.

This is a developing story. It will be updated when more information becomes available.

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critical infrastructure, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cybersecurity workforce, Department of Homeland Security (DHS)