President Trump has picked the head of the National Security Agency’s elite hacking division to be the next White House cybersecurity coordinator, his administration said Wednesday.
Rob Joyce, the chief of the NSA’s office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), has been chosen to join the White House National Security Council, a presidential advisor announced Wednesday following days of speculation surrounding his potential appointment.
“I’m honored to confirm that rumor,” Mr. Trump’s homeland security advisor, Tom Bossert, said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in D.C.
“We will welcome Rob as soon as the process works its way through,” Mr. Bossert added.
Mr. Joyce has worked at the NSA for over 25 years, and was appointed chief of its TAO organization in April 2013. Intelligence documents leaked later that year indicated that the TAO is capable of hacking devices the world over by exploiting technical weaknesses in widely sold IT products, including modems and routers.
Prior to then Mr. Joyce helped safeguard the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyberattack as deputy director of the NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate, a defensive component of the intelligence gathering agency.
The Trump administration’s appointment of Mr. Joyce garnered praised Wednesday from Michael Daniel, President Obama’s pick for White House cybersecurity coordinator and current president of the Cyber Threat Alliance, an independent nonprofit that shares threat intelligence with the U.S. government.
“He has long experience in the cyber realm, knows the interagency process very well, and has proven himself as a leader at NSA,” Mr. Daniel told FCW.
Mr. Joyce would effectively serve as the White House “cyber czar” if he follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, who has been credited with shaping Mr. Obama’s cybersecurity policies and overseeing their implementation throughout the federal government.
Should the administration’s appointment goes as planned, Mr. Joyce will join a cast of White House insiders already on board the National Security Council including Mr. Trump, Vice President Pence and the nation’s secretaries of State, Defense and Energy, among others.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of National Intelligence had previously been members of the council as well, but were notably replaced earlier this year by Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, former Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon.