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Clete D Johnson

Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

Clete D Johnson

Clete Johnson provides advice and advocacy to clients navigating the complex terrain at the intersection of technology and security. Having served in a wide variety of national security and cybersecurity leadership roles on Capitol Hill, in the national security and intelligence communities, in the regulatory arena, and in the Executive Branch, Mr Johnson focuses in particular on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of government-industry collaboration.  

Mr Johnson was Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Senior Adviser for Cybersecurity and Technology at the US Department of Commerce, where he coordinated the Department’s cybersecurity initiatives and the Department’s 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 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler as the FCC’s first Chief Counsel for Cybersecurity. In this 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 which is 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 these 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 widely-praised 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 an Army officer.

He is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was the 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, where he graduated cum laude, cross-enrolled at MIT for service as Executive Officer of its Army ROTC Paul Revere Battalion.

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