2014 Women in IT Security
2014 Women in IT Security

When the White House decided to take a stand on cybersecurity for the critical infrastructure of the country, it was Samara Moore who helped guide the planning and implementation of their efforts.

As the former director for cybersecurity critical infrastructure protection on the White House National Security Staff for the past two years, it was Moore who coordinated efforts across the federal government, often working with companies in the private sector, to address cybersecurity policies for 16 different areas of critical infrastructure. As one of the White House's main standard-bearers for cybersecurity, she helped develop the executive order on improving the critical infrastructure's cybersecurity — which was released in February 2013 — and then played a vital role in implementing and publicizing the new framework that emerged as a result.

“My job was really about pulling the group together and getting to a consensus,” says Moore, pointing up that she oversaw collaboration between government agencies that included the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Director of Intelligence, along with many private sector businesses. Along with shepherding the Cybersecurity Framework into existence and adoption, Moore also helped develop enhanced cybersecurity services for government agencies, starting with the Department of Defense. Rather than require a large number of individual security clearances, this new cybersecurity approach allows the department to share classified and unclassified information with specific service providers, like AT&T, to better protect the critical infrastructure.

Samara Moore
Chief cyber security officer, Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy, Department of Energy

“Aside from being an expert on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection, Samara is also an expert cat herder. She has an innate ability to guide groups of people with different and often competing interests to a consensus,” says Andy Ozment, assistant secretary for cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security. “She has a real knack for facilitating cooperation across the government, which is no easy feat. I've seen her walk into a room of folks from different agencies, all of whom came suited up to fight, and by end of the meeting, she had everyone singing in harmony.”

Moore developed her consensus-building chops in her previous jobs working as the director of the Office of Management and Data Systems for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and for Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services, and perhaps most pointedly as the senior information technology and cybersecurity adviser at the Department of Energy, where she focused on cybersecurity activities for the energy sector and managing public-private partnerships, and played a key role in IT and cybersecurity governance for the DOE. (As of early June, Moore left her White House role to return to the DOE, now as the agency's chief cyber security officer for the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy. She is currently responsible for the cyber policy and oversight for the program offices within the purview of the Under Secretary, including science, electricity, nuclear energy, fossil energy, and renewable energy, as well as DOE's efforts to support security and resilience for the energy sector.)

Having helped lay the groundwork for the foundation of a more comprehensive cybersecurity plan for the nation's most vital underpinnings, Moore hopes to be involved in the more advanced efforts to build that framework out into each sector. “Now, being back at the energy sector, you can understand the dependencies across all the areas,” she says, “and it's easy to see how we need to work more on cross-sector interdependencies with our partners.”