In Brief: Maritime Chief Quits; Northrop Talks Cyber; Marines’ Libya Move

Mike O'Brien

DAVID MATSUDA, the Administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration, has announced that he’s stepping down from his position at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Mr. Matsuda was nominated by President Obama in 2009. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who is also leaving his job this year, described Mr. Matsuda as a "valuable member of my team."

Among Mr. Matsuda’s tasks was overseeing the distribution of $1 billion to shipyards and ports. He was also responsible for the upgrading of 25 ports and the modernizationof 100 small shipyards.

He will be replaced by Deputy Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen at the end of May. Mr. LaHood said he will step down from his post as soon as President Obama's nominee to replace him is confirmed by the Senate.

NORTHROP GRUMMANCorporation has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that will enable the expansion of cybersecurity protections for the nation's critical infrastructure.

The company is now starting the security accreditation process that is required before approval to operate as a commercial services provider under the DHS Enhanced Cybersecurity Services (ECS) program.

ECS is an information-sharing program to assist critical infrastructure owners and operators in enhancing the cybersecurity protections of their information systems from unauthorized access, exploitation and data exfiltration.

Jim Myers, vice president and general manager of the Cyber Solutions division of Northrop Grumman Information Systems, said: "The Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program is a smart way to extend cyber protections to assets, networks and systems that are vital to the security of our country.

"As a leader in cybersecurity, we understand that securing our critical infrastructure against cyber intrusion is essential to our economic well-being and national security."

UP TO 200 U.S. Marines and two planes are being transferred to its base at Sigonella in Sicily to be close to Libya in case American diplomats come under attack.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Emma Bonino told the country’s parliament that the transfer was "in accordance with bilateral agreements" between Italy and the United States, adding: "This is a reinforcement for the security of US personnel in Libya or for possible evacuations."

Armed insurgents set fire to the main US consular facility in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012 and then attacked a nearby CIA annex. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

The Pentagon was criticized in the wake of the attack by those who said it should have been able to more quickly mobilize forces to thwart the attack.