Biden taps grid security adviser for White House role

Source: By Christian Vasquez, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, January 11, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden said Friday he will pick Caitlin Durkovich as senior director for resilience and response on the National Security Council, bringing a longtime grid security adviser to the White House.

Biden’s announcement comes amid increased pressure to revamp U.S. cyber defenses as the federal government is still in the throes of a massive hacking campaign that breached multiple agencies, including the Energy Department (Energywire, Jan. 6).

Durkovich serves on Biden’s Department of Homeland Security transition team and was assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at DHS during the Obama administration. She is currently a director at strategy advisory firm Toffler Associates and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Durkovich has years of experience dealing with grid security threats and was an adviser for several energy organizations such as the Electric Power Research Institute and the grid security advocacy group Protect Our Power.

She was named Friday alongside a slew of picks for Biden’s NSC, including several appointees with experience in cybersecurity and energy (Greenwire, Jan. 8).

“This outstanding team of dedicated public servants will be ready to hit the ground running on day one to address the transnational challenges facing the American people — from climate to cyber,” said Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The NSC appointees will be working under Jake Sullivan, Biden’s pick for national security adviser, and are not Senate-confirmed positions.

The National Security Agency’s cybersecurity director, Anne Neuberger, is also set to take on a new cybersecurity role in Biden’s NSC, Politicoreported.

Biden has yet to announce nominations for the director of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency or the newly created national cyber director role. The White House position was enacted by the passage of the latest National Defense Authorization Act.