David Mussington (Ph.D), professor of the practice and director of the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, will be joining the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as executive assistant director of the Infrastructure Security Division.
As executive assistant director, Mussington will work in tandem with CISA’s cybersecurity and emergency communications divisions to defend against threats — digital and physical, man-made, technological and natural — to national security. In practice, CISA works with government and industry partners in 16 critical infrastructure sectors in an advisory capacity. From communications, manufacturing and emergency services to agriculture, transportation and even nuclear reactors, CISA assesses vulnerabilities in each sector so partners are able to formulate appropriate responses.
“This division fulfills a coordination and outreach role with our industry partners regarding risk and threat assessment to critical infrastructures,” says Mussington. “But these aren’t meant to be regulatory conversations. Our core mission is to be a facilitator of communication, a sharer of information, and a provider of tools for risk management.”
Mussington looks forward to the opportunity of working with experts from other disciplines to translate their specialist expertise into security policy recommendations, a skill he says he not only used at SPP designing new courses, but that has also become his philosophy of public policy.
“The government has to be able to explain itself and its choices to its citizen consumers, and that explanation requires facts,” says Mussington. “The approach I’m going to take [at CISA] is one I’ve evolved over the last four year at SPP, one of evidence-based public policy.”
Mussington also serves as a co-chair of SPP’s faculty diversity committee, a representative body made up of faculty committed to creating a diverse, inclusive environment at the School. In recent months, the School has made a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and Mussington appreciates that he sees mirrored sentiments in the new administration.
“I wasn’t expecting such deep parallels in antiracist commitments between the School and the government right now, and I think that’s amazing,” says Mussington. “I not only expect to see those values reproduced, but I intend to make sure they are, to the extent that I can.”
Before he joined SPP in 2016, Mussington was assistant director of the information technology and systems division at the Institute for Defense Analyses. He has served on the White House National Security Council staff as director surface transportation security policy and was previously senior advisor for cyber policy for the US Department of Defense during the Obama administration. Mussington is also currently a senior fellow at Canada’s Center for International Governance Innovation.