CISA Welcomes Inaugural Cyber Innovation Fellows


By CISA Director Jen Easterly

I truly believe that CISA is the best place to work in government. We tackle some of the hardest problems, work every day to defend the nation, and lead the national effort to understand, manage, and reduce risk to the cyber and physical infrastructure that Americans rely on every hour of every day. All of this is powered by the great team we have at CISA, and today, our team is expanding in a cool, new way.

Today we welcome the first two CISA Cyber Innovation Fellows, experts from the private sector who will join our cybersecurity teammates tackling some of the toughest cyber challenges.

The CISA Cyber Innovation Fellows Initiative is a first-of-its-kind effort established last year to bring in cybersecurity professionals the private sector to work side-by-side with our cybersecurity technical teams several days a week and contribute directly to the nation’s cyber defense.   

I am particularly excited to welcome our first two Fellows to Team CISA--Chris Hughes and Michelle Hook!

Chris Hughes, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Aquia, is joining CISA's Cybersecurity Division. He will coordinate and enable CISA’s global cross-sector community efforts around Software Bills of Materials (SBOM) adoption and use, particularly as it pertains to cloud and SaaS-based software. Chris will also advise on and contribute to Vulnerability Management modernization efforts on behalf of CISA. Finally, he will make recommendations to policy makers and technologists on ways to bolster software supply chain security.

Michelle Hook, head of Cyber Threat Intelligence for CLS International Bank, is joining CISA's Cybersecurity Division. She will advise us on the development of CISA’s cyber threat intelligence strategy, vision, roadmap, and implementation plan. She will also help facilitate industry partnerships and inform and support outreach and engagement efforts to better understand the cyber threat intelligence needs of the community.

In the coming months, more Fellows will begin their part-time work with roles in risk analysis, cyber operations planning, zero trust architecture and cloud security.

At CISA, Innovation is one of our four core values and a key element of our CISA People First Culture. The Cyber Innovation Fellows program is our latest effort to find creative ways to collaborate with our private sector partners and tap into some of the best and brightest talent across the community.

Whether full-time, interns, or part-time, people are our most important asset at CISA. Our shared goal is to identify solutions that make a difference in improving global cybersecurity and it’s our people that make that possible. I can’t wait to see all the goodness to come from our Fellows. I know we’ll learn from them, they’ll learn from us, and we’ll all be better for it.

For more information about the initiative and to learn about the Fellows, visit