Karen Evans to head Energy's new cyber shop

Longtime federal IT executive Karen Evans is returning to government to head the Department of Energy's new office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response.

Royalty-free stock photo ID: 641963182 By 4kclips Department of Energy in Washington - WASHINGTON DC / COLUMBIA - APRIL 7, 2017
 

The Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Department of Energy

Karen Evans, former e-government administrator under President George W. Bush, was named to head the Department of Energy's new cybersecurity office.

Evans is a longtime player in the federal technology space. For six years in the Bush administration she held the position that was essentially the forerunner of the federal CIO job. In 2009 she retired after 28 years in federal service to move to the private sector.

Many of the policies she developed are still in place. In 2008 she led an effort to tame the proliferation of direct internet connections at agencies by imposing the Trusted Internet Connection policy. That reduced more than 1,000 connections to about 50.

Evans also advised Donald Trump's transition team on cybersecurity issues as a member of the "landing team" helping to prepare staff to take over the Office of Management and Budget.

Currently Evans is national director of the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a program to enhance the size and quality of the cybersecurity workforce.

This isn't Evans' first time at the Department of Energy -- she was CIO of the agency. In her new post she'll have the title of Assistant Secretary of Energy for Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response.

The agency has big plans for the new CESER (pronounced "Caesar") office, which is designed as a sector-specific infrastructure defense office. A House appropriations bill funds the effort at $146 million for its fiscal year 2019 launch.

According to a senior cyber adviser to the agency, CESER works with the Department of Homeland Security by focusing on the core duties of the energy grid.

"We're responsible for providing tailored expertise specific to the energy sector. The better we do that, the better we enable DHS to do its mission for the broader national risk mission. We will continue to play that supportive role," Energy official Jennifer Silk said at a June 8 Capitol Hill event.

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