WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump has named Thomas Bossert as assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, where he will also oversee cybersecurity policy, an important area to retailers who have been seeking collaboration with the government to help thwart cyber attacks.
Trump said the role for Bossert, an experienced national security adviser, is being elevated in his administration and “restored to its independent status” alongside that of national security adviser. Trump’s choice for national security adviser is retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
“Tom brings enormous depth and breadth of knowledge and experience to protecting the homeland to our senior White House team,” Trump said. “He has a handle on the complexity of homeland security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity challenges. He will be an invaluable asset to our administration.”
Bossert has run his own independent homeland and national security consulting business, CDS Consulting, since 2009 and served as a senior cybersecurity fellow at the U.S. Atlantic Council.
He has also held several national security positions in the government, including deputy Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, spearheaded efforts to improve civil government operations, while co-authoring and editing the National Strategy for Homeland Security of 2007.
“We must work toward cyber doctrine that reflects the wisdom of free markets, private competition and the important but limited role of government in establishing and enforcing the rule of law, honoring the rights of personal property, the benefits of free and fair trade, and the fundamental principles of liberty,” Bossert said. “The Internet is a U.S. invention. It should reflect these U.S. values as it continues to transform the future for all nations and all generations.”
Cybersecurity is an important issue for retailers and one the Obama administration prioritized in the wake of several high profile cyber attacks. A growing number of cyber attacks have impacted a broad swath of the U.S. economy, ranging from Target Corp., Home Depot and Sony Pictures to banks and government agencies, during Obama’s two terms.
Part of President Obama’s overall strategy was to strengthen ties with the private sector. He unveiled a cybersecurity center to coordinate and analyze cyber-threat assessments across agencies and disseminate information rapidly, and issued an executive order laying out a framework for expanding collaboration between the private sector and government through the creation of “information-sharing and analysis organizations,” or ISAOs, to serve as critical hubs to coordinate data from various sources.
Congress has considered, but not yet passed, data-breach notification legislation. Lawmakers have been considering various data breach bills among heightened concerns following massive data breaches that have hit several major retailers.
Retailers, which have supported some of the measures, have been strong advocates of a federal breach-notification standard to replace a patchwork of state laws that retailers must meet when data security breaches are discovered and consumer financial and personal data are compromised.