Lisa Monaco

Former United States Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor; CNN Senior National Security Analyst
Lisa Monaco
  • Advised the President on the most urgent threats to homeland security each day in the President’s Daily Brief
  • Coordinated the government response to a wide array of challenges including the Boston Bombings, the Zika crisis, and the OPM cyber attack
  • First woman to ever hold the position of Assistant Attorney General for National Security
  • Takes audiences inside the Oval Office and the Situation Room to share incredible insight on domestic and global threats, as well as leading through crisis

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Lisa Monaco has spent two decades in public service and has served at the highest levels in national security and law enforcement in our nation. From the FBI to the Situation Room at the White House, Monaco has been at the forefront of our nation’s response to homeland security crises for the last decade. From the Boston Marathon Bombings to the Ebola crisis to unprecedented cyber threats, she advised the President of the United States on the most urgent threats to homeland security as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. She currently serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at New York University Law School’s Center for Law & Security as well as the Center for Cybersecurity and as Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She is also a partner at O’Melveny and serves as a Senior National Security Analyst for CNN. Monaco is also serving as one of six members of Joe Biden’s new Public Health Advisory Committee.

As the US President’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, Monaco was the White House point person for coordinating the federal government’s crisis management and response to a wide array of risks and challenges. She advised the President on counterterrorism policy and strategy and coordinated homeland security-related activities throughout the Executive Branch. For the last four years, she attended the President’s Daily Briefing and chaired the Cabinet-level Homeland Security Principals Committee—which advises the President on homeland security policy and crises. She led policy coordination and crisis management on issues ranging from terrorist attacks at home and abroad to cyber security, pandemics and natural disasters. A career federal prosecutor, in 2011 Monaco was confirmed by the United States Senate as Assistant Attorney General for National Security, becoming the first woman to ever hold that position. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, she discusses national and homeland security, cyber security, terrorism, and international relations; her insights on shifting and impending global crises is unrivaled.

Monaco has extensive experience at the senior most levels of national security and law enforcement, including as Chief of Staff of the FBI. There, she helped then-director Robert S. Mueller III execute a change management strategy to transform the FBI into a post-9/11 national security organization focused on preventing terrorist attacks on America. In 2009, she returned to the Department of Justice to serve in the senior leadership of the Deputy Attorney General’s office, where she assisted the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General in overall management and supervision of the Department, including the nation’s 94 United States Attorney Offices. She led the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD), which was created after the September 11 attacks in order to integrate intelligence and law enforcement functions across the Justice Department. At NSD, she oversaw all federal terrorism and national security prosecutions nationwide and led a division of more than 350 lawyers and professional staff. She made cyber security a top priority during her tenure, launching a nationwide network of national cyber security prosecutors.

Monaco’s career as a Federal prosecutor includes service on the Enron Task Force for which she received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the Justice Department’s highest award. She is a recipient of numerous awards for public service and has been recognized internationally for her work with key allies and foreign governments, to include the Award of the Officer of the Legion of Honor of France, awarded to her in 2017 by French President Francois Hollande for her contributions to Franco-American relations. She serves on the Board of Advisors for Cognosante, LLC, a healthcare information technology company; the Board of Directors of Accenture Federal Services; the Board of Directors for Hostage US; the University of Chicago Law School Council; and the Advisory Board for the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, American Law Institute, and co-chairs the Aspen Institute Cyber Strategy Group. The Governor of New York named her to a bipartisan Counterterrorism Advisory Panel in 2017.

Lisa is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Chicago Law School.

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Lisa Monaco: Cyber Threats in Today's Wired World

Exponential Times, Exponential Threats. When Lisa Monaco attended President Barack Obama’s daily briefings, the question he usually asked of her was “What are you worried about today?” Monaco says the answer was almost always cyber security. As Monaco explains, while the Internet has given the world better ways to work, play, and share ideas across borders, it has also rapidly expanded the so-called “attack surface” of the United States—a fact that nation states, terrorist actors, hackers and thieves have been eager to seize upon.

With this talk, Monaco draws on her time at the forefront of combating national security and homeland security threats. Sharing stories from her time in the Oval Office and the Situation Room, she lays out the current state of the cyber threat in clear terms and explains why it is more sophisticated than ever before, touching on things like:

  • The diverse nature of the cyber threat from nation states to “hacktivists”—and why, for example, ISIS is recruiting terrorists and hackers
  • The implications of the Internet of Things on businesses and individuals
  • Ransomware and the new trend of “bet-the-company”-style attacks on corporations (Target, SONY)
  • Aggressive actors testing the boundaries of cyber warfare
  • The new spies and the rise of WikiLeaks

Finally, Monaco lays out the three things organizations need to know now to protect themselves. She suggests an actionable framework for corporations seeking to embrace the Internet as the greatest tool of the last 20 years, while steeling themselves against vulnerabilities.

Terrorism & Other Transnational Threats In The Trump Era. Transitions of power have always made national and homeland security experts nervous. But today’s threats are constantly mutating to create hybrid dangers that require an ever-evolving American response. With this candid briefing drawing on her time in the West Wing and the Situation Room, Lisa Monaco looks at the issues and players keeping the intelligence community up at night, breaking down the latest in the threat landscape and what this should mean for the American and international response.

Public Health—The New Security Challenge. With this talk, Lisa Monaco describes the challenges and biotechnology threats—from Ebola to Zika—that our nation faces, and how we should be prepared to address them. In a world in which global commerce and rapid worldwide transportation is a reality, all industries face new challenges in dealing with this new security threat. Monaco lays out the key considerations in developing a rapid response plan in a public health crisis and discusses the nation’s response to epidemics as well as the lessons any organization should take away from these events, including crisis management, the importance of clear communication, and getting the facts out early and often.

Strong Leadership In Times of Crisis. Lisa Monaco has served at the highest levels in government from the FBI, as a top terrorism prosecutor, to the White House, where for the last four years she served as the President’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor. In each of these roles, she was often the only woman in the room. With this talk, Monaco describes the critical moments in managing a crisis, citing incredible examples from her role managing the government’s response to events including the Boston Marathon Bombings, the campaign against ISIS, and coordinating terrorism operations and hostage crises. She outlines key attributes for any leader and manager, and talks about what it was like to be a woman leading crisis response with military, intelligence, and law enforcement operators in the Situation Room. 

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