Center for Strategic International Studies, (CSIS) and Partner,
Wilkinson Barker Knauer
Clete Johnson is a non-resident senior fellow with the CSIS Technology Policy Program. In this role, he directs the CSIS Fellowship for Advanced Cyber Studies Project, an initiative to train the next generation of cybersecurity leaders.
In addition to his CSIS affiliation, he is a partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, in Washington, D.C. Mr. Johnson was most recently the senior adviser for cybersecurity and technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he coordinated the department’s cybersecurity initiatives and support for the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He was also the department’s representative for National Security Council staff deliberations on cybersecurity, encryption, and other policy issues at the intersection of technology and security.
Previously, Mr. Johnson was appointed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman as the FCC’s first chief counsel for cybersecurity. In that position, he helped develop the FCC’s cybersecurity mission, focusing on creating new legal mechanisms for government collaboration with private-sector stakeholders to improve the security and reliability of communications infrastructure. He was also the primary drafter of the charter for the Cybersecurity Forum for Independent and Executive Branch Regulators, a coordinating body of regulatory agencies presently chaired by the FCC.
Prior to his time at the FCC, Mr. Johnson was Senator John D. Rockefeller IV’s designated counsel on the Senate Intelligence Committee and counsel for defense, foreign policy, and international trade. In those roles, he was a leading staffer on bipartisan Senate cybersecurity initiatives and the primary staff drafter of the legislation that codified the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s collaborative process to work with industry to develop and update the Cybersecurity Framework. Before his government service, Mr. Johnson worked for a major Washington-based law firm, where he practiced in the areas of international trade, defense, and security.
Earlier, he served as a U.S. Army officer in Germany, Korea, and the Balkans. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, and he received a master of science degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude, cross-enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for service as executive officer of its Army ROTC Paul Revere Battalion.