Robert K. Knake

Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow


U.S. cybersecurity policy; Internet governance; homeland security.


Rob Knake is the Whitney Shepardson senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. His work focuses on Internet governance, public-private partnerships, and cyber conflict.

Knake served from 2011 to 2015 as director for cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council. In this role, he was responsible for the development of presidential policy on cybersecurity, and built and managed federal processes for cyber incident response and vulnerability management. Federal Computer Week dubbed him the “White House’s Cyber Wizard” for his work on Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, which directed the creation of the National Institute of Standards & Technology Cybersecurity Framework. He worked to establish presidential policy that created the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center and Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations.

A frequent writer and speaker on cybersecurity, he has been quoted by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post and appeared on MSNBC, CNN, and National Public Radio. He has testified before Congress on the problem of attribution in cyberspace and written and lectured extensively on cybersecurity policy.

Knake is an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. He holds a master’s in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and undergraduate degrees in history and government from Connecticut College and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

All Publications

Recent Activity from Net Politics



Time to Clean Up U.S. Cyberspace

In this January 2016 article Knake discusses malware infections, botnet attacks and the need to "clean up" U.S. cyberspace and improve American cyber hygiene. 


A "Brown Water" Navy

In this December 2015 article, Knake discusses Iranian cyber capabilities and the 2014 DDoS attack on the Sands Casinos. 


Lawful Hacking

In this October 2015 article, Knake addresses encryption and the idea of "lawful hacking."