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John Bolton arrives at Downing Street in London, Aug. 13. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

With the ouster of national security adviser John Bolton this week, the White House loses a key cog in its cybersecurity and cyber warfare machine.

The big picture: Bolton was a hawkish national security adviser at a time when the Department of Defense was taking a more hawkish approach to cybersecurity. He also eliminated the position of White House cybersecurity coordinator, giving himself more control.

The big question: Will a new adviser bring back the cybersecurity coordinator position?

  • Beyond a role in cyber warfare and cyber defense, the so-called cybersecurity czar coordinated often competing cybersecurity-related interests across the federal government.
  • "A more visibly coordinated, unified approach to cybersecurity would better protect U.S. interests moving forward," said Michael Daniel, the president and CEO of the Cyber Threat Alliance, who served as cybersecurity coordinator in the Obama White House.

Yes, but: Don't hold your breath about the position coming back, said Jamil N. Jaffer, vice president for strategy, partnerships and corporate development at IronNet Cybersecurity and a former associate White House counsel to President George W. Bush.

  • "The president obviously prefers a smaller, more focused, and trusted set of advisers — in part because he likes to make key decisions rapidly based in large part on his own counsel — so it wouldn't be surprising if he rejected the idea of re-creating a cyber czar position, even if that’s what the new national security adviser wanted,” Jaffer said via email.

What they're saying: "It's hard to imagine someone more hawkish," said Dave Weinstein, chief security officer of Claroty, a cybersecurity firm protecting critical infrastructure. "But I could imagine someone more intelligence-focused pulling back a little."

The bottom line: The Bolton tenure was volatile in part because he was an ideologue working for a president with no consistent ideology, said David Kris, a former head of the national security division at the Department of Justice and founder of the Culper Partners consulting firm.

  • That could lead to an era of less consistent strategy if President Trump appoints a more philosophically malleable adviser with less desire to keep the Oval Office on the rails.
  • "Without a doubt, the most significant challenge will be managing the commander in chief," said Kris.

Go deeper: Where current cybersecurity guidelines fall short

Go deeper

Scoop: CIA director Gina Haspel almost resigned over plan to Kash Patel as deputy

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel almost resigned in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelations stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.