Giuliani Cyber Task Force Hammers Down Focus Issues

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. Carolyn Kaster/AP

The task force plans to bring industry cybersecurity executives into the White House to brief on those issues, a McAfee executive said.

A government cybersecurity task force headed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is prepping white paper reviews on a number of critical issues and plans to bring cyber executives from industry into the White House to discuss those, a McAfee executive briefed on the plans said Thursday.

Some issues the task force is likely to tackle include information sharing about cyber threats between companies and with the government and protecting critical infrastructure from digital attacks, said Thomas Gann, vice president for public policy at the antivirus firm.

Gann spoke about the Giuliani task force with the former mayor’s law partners, he said during a roundtable with reporters at McAfee’s Security Through Innovation conference. The team is “still sorting out their organizational construct,” he said.

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The Giuliani team has not yet reached out to the government’s main cybersecurity nerve center, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, NCCIC Director John Felker said during the same event.

By and large, there’s been little change in cyber policy or priorities between the Obama and Trump administrations, said Felker, who has held his position for nearly two years.

“We had a great relationship with Michael Daniel and we have a great relationship with Rob Joyce,” Felker said, referring to the White House cyber coordinator during the last years of the Obama administration and Trump’s cyber coordinator who began work last month.

“[Cybersecurity] is not going away in this administration as an issue,” he said.

Felker’s comments are one of several data points so far that suggest continuity on cyber policy and priorities between the Obama and Trump administrations. Many details of Trump’s cyber policies remain opaque, however, and several key administration posts, such as the federal chief information officer and chief information security officer, have not been filled.

A draft cybersecurity executive order the Trump team floated in February and invited industry to review in March has still not been introduced.

Gann and Felker are not aware of any broad industry or government outreach so far by a separate Trump initiative, the Office of American Innovation, headed by the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, they said.

That office will focus on modernizing government services and the workforce, as well as initiatives to improve infrastructure, reform regulations and a slew of other priorities, according to a White House news release.