- The Biden administration hired Chris DeRusha as federal CISO, tasking him with coordinating cybersecurity policy across federal agencies. DeRusha previously served as the top cybersecurity officer for the Biden presidential campaign.
- A former cybersecurity official from the Obama White House and the Department of Homeland Security, DeRusha announced the new position on his LinkedIn profile.
- DeRusha was acting CSO and later CSO for the state of Michigan until he was named CISO for the Biden campaign in June 2020, according to LinkedIn. He also served as manager of enterprise vulnerability management and application security at Ford from 2017 to 2018.
The appointment was widely praised by industry veterans, who said the Biden administration needs to rapidly assemble its cybersecurity team to get on top of a series of existing threats.
Mark Montgomery, executive director of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, said DeRusha's hiring was an excellent selection, providing the Biden administration a mix of federal, state and private sector experience.
The administration still needs to expedite the nomination of a national cyber director and director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to complete the team, Montgomery added. President Joe Biden will reportedly nominate Rob Silvers as CISA director, a former DHS cyber official in the Obama administration.
"These two billets will be key to establishing secure and resilient federal IT networks, and to building an effective public-private collaboration for the defense of our critical infrastructure," Montgomery said.
The Federal CISO, which operates under the Office of Management and Budget, guides and coordinates cybersecurity policy among the various federal agencies. The position was created in 2016 and was held most recently by Camilo Sandoval, who previously served as CIO of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The appointment of DeRusha, alongside names such as Anne Neuberger as deputy national security advisor for cybersecurity in the National Security Council, will give the Biden administration a group of veteran officials with federal agency experience as well as deep backgrounds in law enforcement and national security, according to Charles Herring, CTO at WitFoo.
"These moves seem to signal a focus on moving cybersecurity from being a technical component of risk management to a more prominent part of national security strategy," he said via email. "The appointments will also deliver hope of stability to these departments that have been rocked by a turbulent wave of resignations and leadership changes over the past four years."
White House officials could not be immediately reached for comment.