The Department of Energy's Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response office has a new top executive.
A Feb. 13 memo to DOE staff from Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the CESER office will be led by Alexander Gates, who comes from the National Security Agency where he worked in intelligence analysis, cyber operations, cyber security, research and tool development. He had also recently completed a tour of duty at DOE serving as deputy director for Cyber in DOE's Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, according to the memo first reported by E&E News and obtained by FCW.
Gates replaces Karen Evans, the CESER office's first assistant secretary. Then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry formed the CESER office in 2018 to address the agency's expanding cybersecurity responsibilities and establish a more-direct line of intra-agency communications concerning cyber threats to energy infrastructure.
Evans was sworn into the position in September 2018. Brouillette's memo doesn't say where Evans is going, but he wished her "success in her next pursuit." Evans did not respond to FCW's request for comment.
Evans is a longtime player in the federal technology space. Before CESER, she had been the National Director of the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a public-private program designed to help address the skills gap in the cybersecurity field.
For six years in the Bush administration, she held the position that became the federal CIO job. She had also previously served as DOE's CIO. In 2009, Evans retired after 28 years in federal service to move to the private sector. She won two Federal 100 Awards while in government, and was FCW's Government Eagle Award winner in 2004.
After the 2016 election, she 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.
In his memo, Brouillette thanked Evans for her work on developing electromagnetic pulse vulnerability testing, expanding energy sector participation in data sharing efforts through CESER's Cyber Analytics Tools and Techniques project, developing new operational technology capabilities with real-time data sharing and analysis pilot programs with energy utilities in the Cybersecurity for the Operational Technology Environment project as well as her work to help restore power in Puerto Rico after the devastating earthquakes there.
Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.