Indian American member of the White House cyber-security council resigns


Indian American, DJ Patil is among several members to resign from a White House cyber-security council last week to protest against President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville and his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement as well as many other issues.

About eight members of the 28-person National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) signed the resignation letter however, only three have confirmed it.

“I can confirm that I have resigned as a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. Critical infra needs to be taken seriously,” Patil tweeted on Aug. 22.

The resignation letter which was published by NextGov, said that the president’s “actions have threatened the security of the homeland I took an oath to protect.”

According to The Verge, the letter further states, that the Trump administration is not “adequately attentive to the pressing national security matters within the NIAC’s purview” and that Trump has paid “insufficient attention” to the growing threats that the U.S. faces to its cyber-security.

The letter continues to state that the president has “disregard for the security of American communities” and that “the moral infrastructure of our Nation is the foundation on which our physical infrastructure is built, the Administration’s actions undermine that foundation.”

Patil, a data scientist, was appointed by former President Barack Obama in February of 2015 as the Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy and Chief Data Scientist in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

As Chief Data Scientist, Patil helped shape policies and practices to help the U.S. remain a leader in technology and innovation.

He also fostered partnerships to help maximize the nation’s return on its investment in data and helped to recruit and retain the best minds in data science to join in serving the public.

He also worked on the Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which focuses on utilizing advances in data and health care to provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients, while protecting patient privacy.

As part of the CTO team, Patil worked closely with colleagues across the government, including the Chief Information Officer and U.S. Digital Service.

His work also included data science leadership on the Administration’s momentum on open data and data science.

According to Science Friday, when Patil joined the White House staff, he helped launch its Police Data Initiative, through which police jurisdictions release data collected on their policing, including information about the use of force and traffic stops.

By looking at the data, Patil noticed that a number of negative police encounters occurred just after an officer had responded to a suicide or domestic violence call, which suggested that quickly re-dispatching these officers to their normal beat without giving them time to decompress may have led to the incidents of violence.

Before joining the White House staff, Patil served as the Vice President of Product at RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce and has also held positions at LinkedIn, Greylock Partners, Skype, PayPal and eBay.

Prior to his work in the private sector, Patil worked at the Department of Defense, where he directed new efforts to bridge computational and social sciences in fields like social network analysis to help anticipate emerging threats to the United States.

As a doctoral student and faculty member at the University of Maryland, Patil used open datasets published by NOAA to make major improvements in numerical weather forecasting.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California in San Diego and a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland College Park.

He has written many articles and books as well, explaining the important current and potential applications of data science.

Other members of NIAC who officially announced their resignations on Twitter over the weekend include Office of Science and Technology Policy Chief of Staff Cristin Dorgelo and White House Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss.

The NIAC was established in 2001 under an executive order from President George W. Bush and advises the president on critical infrastructure security.

According to a Fortune report, the resignations come after Trump disbanded two business advisory councils earlier, following a wave of resignations by chief executive officers who similarly condemned Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville.

The NIAC issued a report after the resignations saying that dramatic steps were required to prevent a possible “9/11-level cyberattack.”



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