DeRusha stepping down from federal CISO role

He’s also leaving ONCD, where he’s served as deputy national cyber director.
Federal CISO Chris DeRusha speaks at CyberTalks, presented by CyberScoop. (Pixelme Studios)

Chris DeRusha is exiting his role as federal chief information security officer after more than three years on the job, the Office of Management and Budget confirmed Tuesday.

DeRusha, who was appointed to the federal CISO position in January 2021, played a critical role in the development of the White House’s artificial intelligence executive order, in addition to the Biden administration’s 2021 executive order on cybersecurity and the corresponding national cybersecurity strategy and implementation plan

“Since day one of the Biden Administration, Chris has been instrumental in strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity, protecting America’s critical infrastructure, and improving the digital defenses of the Federal government,” Clare Martorana, federal chief information officer, said in a statement. “I wish him the best, and know he will continue to serve as a leading voice within the cybersecurity community.”  

As the federal CISO, DeRusha oversaw the 25-member council of his chief information security officer peers and spearheaded the protection of federal networks, while also managing agencywide implementation of multifactor authentication and supporting the coordination of the nation’s broader cybersecurity as the deputy national cyber director. 


DeRusha will also leave behind that role, the Office of the National Cyber Director confirmed.

“From the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, and even before, Chris DeRusha has been a steady, guiding leader,” National Cyber Director Harry Coker Jr. said in a statement. “As Deputy National Cyber Director with ONCD — while continuing his excellent work as Federal CISO — he has been a trusted and valued partner. 

“Chris’s keen insights, experience, and judgement have been integral to the work we’ve done and what we will continue to do to strengthen our Nation’s cyber infrastructure. I’m grateful for his commitment to the American people and to the Biden-Harris Administration. All of us at ONCD wish him the very best in his next chapter,” Coker added.

Speaking during Scoop News Group’s CyberTalks event last November, DeRusha touted the White House’s coalition-building efforts and “meaningful cooperation” as a means to reaching its overarching cybersecurity goals.  

“We cannot achieve any meaningful progress on managing cyber risk as one nation,” DeRusha said. “And this administration is definitely committed to working with our like-minded partners on shared goals.”


A month earlier, during the Google Public Sector Forum, DeRusha said that after “decades of investments in addressing legacy modernization challenges,” the Biden administration was poised to address “massive” long-term challenges on everything from AI strategy to combating ransomware. 

“We’ve taken on pretty much every big challenge that we’ve been talking about for a couple of decades,” DeRusha said. “And we’re taking a swing and making” progress.

Prior to his current stint with the federal government, DeRusha served as CISO for the Biden presidential campaign and stayed on with the transition team’s technology strategy and delivery unit. DeRusha had previously worked as the CISO for the state of Michigan.

OMB did not reveal DeRusha’s last day or where he is headed next. 

Federal News Network first reported the news of DeRusha’s departure.

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