Network Security

Trump nominates Kelly aide to head DHS


President Donald Trump Wednesday nominated cybersecurity expert, attorney Kirsjten Nielsen, formerly Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly's top aide at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to head DHS.

Nielsen followed Kelly from DHS to the White House, becoming his principal deputy chief of staff and helping him tighten up the West Wing. Her expertise includes homeland security policy and strategy as well as cybersecurity, critical infrastructure and emergency management, according to a post on the White House website. She was senior legislative policy director for Transportation and Security Administration in DHS under President George W. Bush.

Nielsen also founded Sunesis Consulting, LLC, a risk and security management consulting firm.

“President Trump's appointment of Kirstjen Nielsen as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security is a smart move. In the past decade, the government has elevated cybersecurity to a federal-level discussion but  the recent departures of several cybersecurity advisors and the lack of a federal CISO appointment were worrying," said Netskope CEO Sanjay Beri. "By appointing Nielsen, who's cybersecurity expertise is needed now more than ever as the country faces threats from hacktivists and state-sponsored malicious actors, the Trump administration is showing it's making the necessary efforts to get more cyber leadership in the government.”


Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, praised Nielsen's work at GWU's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security and "her strong focus on critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity and emergency preparedness. "I'm grateful for the wealth of experience Ms. Nielsen brings to this position. In addition to her previous experience at DHS under multiple administrations," said Ratcliffe, chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection.

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