National Security

Donald Trump names former Bush official to cybersecurity post

President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump named former George W. Bush official Tom Bossert to a top national security post on Tuesday.
President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump named former George W. Bush official Tom Bossert to a top national security post on Tuesday. AP

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday tapped a former official from the George W. Bush administration for an upgraded national security post that will focus on cybersecurity.

Tom Bossert, a national security consultant in the private sector, was named assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, and will be equal in status to national security adviser and former Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Trump is upgrading Bossert’s position relative to his predecessor in Obama’s administration. Bossert will focus on domestic national security issues while Flynn will focus on international issues.

“Tom brings enormous depth and breadth of knowledge and experience to protecting the homeland to our senior White House team,” Trump said in his official announcement. “He has a handle on the complexity of homeland security, counterterrorism and cybersecurity challenges. He will be an invaluable asset to our administration.”

Bossert could play a large role in the aftermath of any terrorist attacks during Trump’s administration.

The adviser serving in Bossert’s equivalent role in the Obama administration, Lisa Monaco, was often the first person to brief the president after a domestic terrorist attack and serves as liaison between the White House and foreign governments in counter-terrorism operations.

It was Monaco who first told reporters Dec. 9 that President Obama had ordered a report into alleged Russian hacking of Democratic National Committee computers with the intention of helping Trump’s presidential campaign.

Bossert’s position does not require congressional approval.

“I am grateful for this opportunity, for the faith President-elect Trump has placed in me, and for the chance to serve again in a position of such extraordinary public trust,” Bossert said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working closely with Gen. Flynn as we together help the president-elect advance the interests of the United States and its allies.”

Bossert will oversee the administration’s cybersecurity efforts. Despite Trump’s open skepticism of the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia was trying to help his campaign by publishing emails taken in the DNC hack and subsequent one of the email of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, the president-elect has called for great government focus on the threat from hacking.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Bossert worked for the Bush administration as a deputy homeland security adviser until 2009. Trump’s press release notes that Bossert “was a principle author of the lessons learned report on the Hurricane Katrina response and was deeply involved in the effort to develop the U.S. cybersecurity strategy.”

Since leaving the White House, Bossert ran a homeland security consulting business called Civil Defense Solutions and worked as a cybersecurity fellow at the U.S. Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan think tank.

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty