Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the House’s Homeland Security committee, called on the White House’s next national security adviser to re-establish a top cybersecurity job in the administration.

The position that eliminated under the previous officeholder, John Bolton.

Shortly after President Donald Trump’s Sept. 18 announcement that Robert O’Brien would serve as his fourth national security adviser, Thompson issued a statement demanding that O’Brien’s “first act” must be to bring back the job of White House Cybersecurity Coordinator. Until Sept. 18, O’Brien was the State Department’s top hostage negotiator,

“With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated and growing by the day, including the persistent threat to our election systems, there is no reason that the White House should have allowed this position to be eliminated,” Thompson said in the statement.

The National Security Council position was eliminated in May 2018 by then-National Security Adviser John Bolton. The cyber role had been held by Rob Joyce, who left a month before the job was scrapped.

The role of cybersecurity coordinator was originally created by President Barack Obama and helped in setting policy to defend the federal government from cyberattacks.

Lawmakers and former officials were surprised when the position was eliminated, according to several reports. Thompson said in his statement that despite these concerns “the White House has done little to address the vacuum left behind.”

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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