CISO, State Department
With over 25 years in the security sector, Donna Bennett has been the CISO at both the Commerce Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Before 2014, she held key cybersecurity roles at the Defense Department.
Her public service began as a seaman recruit when she joined the Navy, and after her stint there, Bennett worked on upgrading networks between ship deployments and took charge of cybersecurity for the Unified Atlantic Region. She also played a pivotal role in strengthening cybersecurity for the U.S. Naval Forces Europe/U.S. 6th Fleet.
Outside her day job, Bennett teaches cybersecurity management and IT at the University of Maryland University College.
Speaking at a recent Billington CyberSecurity event, Bennett talked candidly about ramping up digital defenses in response to the White House’s 2021 cybersecurity directive, Nextgov reported. She highlighted the journey from starting at a challenging point to effectively meeting mandates. This transformation was driven by adopting a zero trust approach, aligning with CISA’s benchmarks and following guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget.