Federal CISO to Leave Post

In a significant announcement from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Chris DeRusha, the federal chief information security officer (CISO), is set to vacate his influential position. Appointed in early 2021, DeRusha has been a pivotal figure in the nation’s cybersecurity landscape, also serving as the deputy national cyber director for federal cybersecurity at the Office of the National Cyber Director.

Throughout his tenure, DeRusha has helmed several critical initiatives aimed at fortifying the United States’ cybersecurity framework. These initiatives include the federal zero trust strategy and enhanced software security efforts. Under his guidance, the federal government has witnessed significant advancements in its digital defense mechanisms, much to the benefit of America’s critical infrastructure.

In light of his departure, Clare Martorana, the federal Chief Information Officer (CIO), lauded DeRusha’s contributions. “Chris has been instrumental in strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity, protecting America’s critical infrastructure, and improving the digital defenses of the federal government,” Martorana stated, expressing her best wishes for his future endeavors. She acknowledged his pivotal role and anticipated his continued influence within the cybersecurity community.

National Cyber Director Harry Coker, Jr. also shared his sentiments regarding DeRusha’s departure. “As Deputy National Cyber Director with ONCD – while continuing his excellent work as Federal CISO – he has been a trusted and valued partner,” Coker Jr. remarked. He praised DeRusha’s insights, experience, and judgment as fundamental to the nation’s efforts in strengthening cyber infrastructure.

Before his tenure with OMB, DeRusha played key roles in bolstering national cybersecurity, serving as the CISO for the Biden for President campaign and as the chief security officer for Michigan. His career also spans various capacities in the industry, along with significant government positions at OMB and the Department of Homeland Security. DeRusha’s contributions to cybersecurity were recognized in 2023 when he received Fed 100 honors, predominantly for his efforts in executing government-wide cybersecurity directives.

Despite the announcement of his departure, the OMB has yet to disclose specific details regarding the timing or his successor. The cybersecurity community keenly awaits further information on who will step into the pivotal role of Federal CISO in his absence, hoping to continue the substantial progress made under DeRusha’s leadership.

As the search for a new Federal CISO begins, the focus remains on maintaining and expanding upon the cybersecurity initiatives established by DeRusha. His departure marks the end of a significant chapter in federal cybersecurity leadership, but also the beginning of a new phase of innovation and dedication to protecting the nation’s digital frontiers.

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