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Biden Administration Taps Chris DeRusha to Be Federal CISO

DeRusha, a cybersecurity official on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and the former cybersecurity chief for the state of Michigan, has been appointed federal chief information security officer.

A digital image of a lock on a screen next to lines of code.
Chris DeRusha, a former cybersecurity official for the Biden presidential campaign and the former chief security officer for the state of Michigan, has been named the CISO for the Office of Management and Budget. 

Chris DeRusha
DeRusha, who also served as a former White House cybersecurity official during the Obama administration, announced his appointment on LinkedIn Monday afternoon. Acting federal CIO Maria Roat also confirmed the appointment via Twitter. 

Welcome aboard Chris DeRusha, our new Federal CISO! @ciodotgov — Maria Roat (@RoatMaria) January 26, 2021

DeRusha will be responsible for driving cybersecurity policy, planning and implementation efforts across the federal government, as well as coordinating cybersecurity efforts and working with government agencies to fortify their networks to prevent future cyberattacks.

Prior to his recent appointment, DeRusha focused on technology strategies as part of President Biden’s transition team and was CISO for his presidential campaign. Before that, he served as the CISO for the state of Michigan. He was also a cybersecurity strategist and adviser to the deputy under secretary for cybersecurity for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  

News of DeRusha’s appointment comes as one of the many efforts the Biden administration is making to prioritize cybersecurity. As detailed in the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal, $9 billion is to be allocated to modernizing technology as part of the administration’s Technology Modernization Fund to fight back against potential cyberattacks. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has also requested for $200 million to be allocated to the Information Technology Oversight and Reform fund to help hire hundreds of key experts to support the federal chief information security officer and U.S. Digital Service, according to the publication Federal Computer Week.

Other notable cybersecurity-related appointments within Biden's administration are speculated to include Jen Easterly as the administration's national cyber director; Robert Silvers, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, as the head of DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; and Eric Goldstein, another DHS veteran, as the head of CISA’s Cybersecurity Division.
Katya Diaz is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University.