Trump picks Homeland Security head

President-elect Donald Trump selected Tom Bossert as White House homeland security and counterterrorism advisor -- and elevated the position as an assistant to the president, the incoming administration announced Dec. 27.

The position is an independent post with an elevated status, on par with the National Security Advisor, according to the announcement. Previously, the deputy would report to the advisor and not directly to the president.

From IoT attacks shutting down entire countries to ransomware plaguing the U.S. healthcare system, the elevation of the cybersecurity role may signal that Trump is placing high importance on cybercrime at a pivotal moment.

"We must work toward cyber-doctrine that reflects the wisdom of free markets, private competition and the important but limited role of government in establishing and enforcing the rule of law, honoring the rights of personal property, the benefits of free and fair trade and the fundamental principles of liberty," Bossert said in a statement.

"The internet is a U.S. invention, it should reflect these U.S. values as it continues to transform the future for all nations and all generations," he added.

Bossert was a homeland security adviser during the last year of the George W. Bush administration. He currently serves as a fellow with the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council think tank and runs a risk management consulting firm.

In his new role, Bossert will focus on domestic and transnational security priorities, while National Security Adviser nominee, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, will be in charge of international security challenges. Trump officials said Bossert will also advise the president on homeland security, counterterrorism and cybersecurity challenges, while working with the Cabinet to create new policies.

"Tom brings enormous depth and breadth of knowledge and experience to protecting the homeland to our senior White House team," Trump said in a statement. "He has a handle on the complexity of homeland security, counterterrorism and cybersecurity challenges will be an invaluable asset to our administration."

"I am looking forward to working closely with Gen. Flynn as we together help the President-elect advance the interests of the United States and its allies," said Bossert.