Keynote: Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

Conference:  BlackHat USA 2021



The speaker emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity and the need for a diverse and skilled workforce to address the challenges in cyberspace. They encourage individuals to join the Department of Homeland Security or help bridge the gap between the hacker community and the federal government. The speaker also highlights the new cyber talent management system and the importance of skills-based evaluation for hiring cybersecurity experts.
  • Cybersecurity is crucial for the future of the internet, economic and national security, and the country as a whole
  • A diverse and skilled workforce is needed to address the challenges in cyberspace
  • Individuals can join the Department of Homeland Security or help bridge the gap between the hacker community and the federal government
  • The new cyber talent management system will provide more flexibility to hire the best cyber talent
  • Skills-based evaluation is important for hiring cybersecurity experts
The speaker mentions a task force they were a part of in 2012 that looked at cyber skills within the department and advocated for skills-based evaluation. They highlight the importance of testing individuals in real-life scenarios to see if they have the necessary skills to advance. This approach can help identify skill gaps and ensure a mix of skills within the department.


Alejandro Mayorkas was sworn in as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security by President Biden on February 2, 2021. Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant confirmed to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security. He has led a distinguished 30-year career as a law enforcement official and a nationally-recognized lawyer in the private sector. Mayorkas served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2016, and as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009 to 2013. During his tenure at DHS, he led the development and implementation of DACA, negotiated cybersecurity and homeland security agreements with foreign governments, led the Department’s response to Ebola and Zika, helped build and administer the Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking, and developed an emergency relief program for orphaned youth following the tragic January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Mayorkas also created the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate to better ensure the integrity of the legal immigration system.Mayorkas began his government service in the Department of Justice, where he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, specializing in the prosecution of white collar crime. After nearly nine years as a federal prosecutor, he became the youngest United States Attorney in the nation, overseeing prosecutions of national significance, including the investigation and prosecution of financial fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, public corruption, violent crime, cybercrime, environmental crime, international money laundering, and securities fraud.Mayorkas received his bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Loyola Law School.