The National Retail Federation today announced that it has hired Christian Beckner, a top Washington cybersecurity think tank expert and former U.S. Senate homeland security advisor, to head its cybersecurity program that helps retailers protect sensitive consumer data nationwide.
“Protecting consumer data is one of retailers’ top priorities, and Christian is a proven cybersecurity veteran with the expertise and experience to help us combat this never-ending battle,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “His diverse background and in-depth knowledge of technology and security is an unparalleled resource for the retail industry and the consumers they serve.”
As senior director of retail technology, Beckner will lead NRF’s CIO Council, IT Security Council and cybersecurity program, and will be responsible for developing strategies, programs and activities to maintain NRF as the technology leader and convener in the retail sector. Included in the cybersecurity program is the NRF Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Organization and Threat Alert System, which gathers intelligence on cybersecurity threats targeting retailers and alerts companies to help them keep data secure.
“I am looking forward to taking the next step in my career working on behalf of an industry with such a unique set of technology and security challenges,” Beckner said. “Retailers work round-the-clock every day against cyber threats, and I want to use what I’ve learned over the last two decades to help them address these critical issues head on.”
Beckner spent the past five years as deputy director of George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, a think tank where he focused on cybersecurity, counterterrorism and homeland security. He was previously an associate staff director at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where he was responsible for coordination of oversight and legislation on a broad range of homeland security and intelligence issues. Among other assignments, he contributed to the committee’s investigation of the 2009 Fort Hood terrorist attack. He has worked on cybersecurity and homeland security issues for close to 20 years, including positions at IBM, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the O’Gara Company.
Beckner holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University and a master’s degree in foreign service and an MBA, both from Georgetown University.