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U.S. Cybersecurity Strategy: President Biden Executive Orders, Legislation, Leaders and More

President Joe Biden is overhauling the U.S. cybersecurity strategy and leadership. This blog, updated regularly, tracks how the U.S. federal government, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Justice and other agencies are evolving their leadership, cyber defenses and risk mitigation strategies to protect U.S. infrastructure.

Here are the updates…

Thursday, February 4, 2021:

  • Biden Cyber Statement: President Biden said his administration is launching an “urgent initiative” to improve the nation’s cybersecurity, pointing to concerns around malign efforts by Russia and China. “We’ve elevated the status of cyber issues within our government,” Biden said as part of a national security speech at the State Department. “We are launching an urgent initiative to improve our capability, readiness and resilience in cyberspace.” Source: The Hill, February 4, 2021.

Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary, DHS

Tuesday, February 2, 2021:

  • Homeland Security Leader: The United States Senate has approved Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Known mostly for physical homeland security, DHS also has major cyber responsibilities — including overseeing the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Wednesday, January 27, 2021:

Chris DeRusha, CISO, U.S. Federal Government

Tuesday, January 26, 2021:

  • Federal CISO: The Biden administration has selected Chris DeRusha as federal chief information security officer (CISO). DeRusha brings federal, state and private-sector cybersecurity experience to the role. Source: Nextgov, January 26, 2021.
  • CISA Senior Advisor: Eric Goldstein is among the first Biden administration picks currently at work at the Homeland Security Department, at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Goldstein has started as a senior advisor at CISA. Brandon Wales is still the acting director of the cyber agency. Two people familiar with Goldstein’s position said he is the CISA Executive Assistant Director Cybersecurity Division—a role previously held by Bryan Ware who left as former President Donald Trump was clearing out the agency. Source: Bloomberg Government, January 26, 2021.

Monday, January 25, 2021:

  • China and U.S. Data Security: President Biden is committed to making sure that Chinese companies cannot misuse and misappropriate American data and will ensure that U.S. technology does not end up supporting China’s “malign activities,” a State Department spokesperson said. Source: Reuters, January 25, 2021.

Lloyd Austin, secretary of defense

Morgan Stanley’s Jen Easterly for National Cyber Director?

Robert Silvers to lead CISA?

Friday, January 22, 2021:

  • U.S. National Cyber Director: The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act for FY21 requires President Biden to establish a national cyber director and a corresponding office for the role, SeekingAlpha notes. The lead candidate for the role is Jen Easterly, a former National Security Agency (NSA) official who now heads resilience at Morgan Stanley. Easterly previously served in various roles during the Obama administration and helped create the U.S. Cyber Command cyber warfare unit. Source: Reuters, January 22, 2021.
  • CISA Leader: President Biden will likely tap Robert Silvers, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, to head DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, handing him the mission of protecting U.S. critical infrastructure and federal computer networks from hackers. Source: Politico, January 22, 2021.
  • DoD Leader Confirmed: Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, has been confirmed by the Senate, making him the first Black secretary of defense in U.S. history. Source: NPR, January 22, 2021.

  • Federal Cybersecurity Talent: President Joe Biden is hiring a group of national security veterans with deep cyber expertise, drawing praise from former defense officials and investigators as the U.S. government works to recover from the SolarWinds Orion-related hacks of its agencies attributed to Russian spies. Source: Reuters, January 22, 2021.

Brandon Wales, acting director, CISA

Thursday, January 21, 2021:

  • CISA vs. Ransomware: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) rolled out a new public awareness campaign vs. ransomware cyberattacks. Acting CISA Director Brandon Wales announced the program during an appearance at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ virtual winter meeting, Source: The Hill, January 21, 2021.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021:

  • Alleged China Espionage: Outgoing U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai said potential Chinese espionage and threats to U.S. telecommunications networks and Internet freedom are the biggest national security issue that regulators will face in the next four years. Source: Reuters, January 20, 2021.

Blog originally published January 22, 2021. Updated regularly thereafter. Check back for ongoing updates.

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