Brian Harrell, assistant director for infrastructure at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, submitted his resignation today to President Trump.
Harrell, the former managing director of enterprise security at Duke Energy, was appointed to DHS in December 2018. He is also the former director of the Electricity ISAC and director of critical infrastructure protection programs at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
In his resignation letter, Harrell said it “has been the absolute honor of a lifetime to help lead the dedicated women and men at DHS during these challenging times.”
“The opportunity to work with those who protect our communities and our critical infrastructure from harm has been the highlight of my professional career,” he wrote. “During my time at CISA, 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.”
“I thank the Administration for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history, and I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American people expect,” Harrell added. “I will now return to the private sector, but I will always cherish my time in the Administration. I am confident we provided value while ‘moving the needle’ for the American people.”
Harrell told HSToday that he intends to spend time with his kids before moving into the next chapter of his career.
At CISA, Harrell has led preparedness initiatives and training exercises with government and the private sector in areas including cybersecurity, drone threats, chemical sector security, soft-target threats, and more. “Threats may consist of hybrid cyber and physical attacks against the Homeland, which emphasizes the need to think about a comprehensive approach to the cyber-physical threat landscape,” he told HSToday when assessing the top threats to be anticipated in 2020. “Protecting soft targets and crowded places, from schools to sports and entertainment venues, faith-based communities etc., continues to be an important driver in the effort to strengthen the security and resilience of nation’s critical infrastructure and protect America’s citizens.”
At a House hearing earlier in the year on domestic extremism, Harrell told lawmakers that “based off of current events and the frequency of events, I am convinced that this country is becoming more and more violent every single day.”
“Freedoms that have made this country a shining city upon a hill do not come without a price. As I wrote to the faith-based community a little over a year ago, in this dynamic threat environment, we face the reality that differences in ideology can result in attacks even in the most holy of places,” Harrell said. “While this unfortunate truth may be a reality, it does not have to be inevitable. The threat is not going away, but neither is our determination to reduce the probability of a successful attack.”