Education and early work
Rod received his BA with Honors and Distinction and an MBA from Stanford University, where he served as the Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the Associated Students of Stanford University.
In August 2007, Beckstrom and Peter Thoeny, author of TWiki co-launched TWIKI.NET, a Web 2.0 company that supports TWiki, an open source wiki. Beckstrom became Chairman and Chief Catalyst. He was also co-founder, Chairman and CEO of CATS Software Inc., a derivatives and risk management software company which went public on NASDAQ and later was sold to Misys PLC.
He is co-author of the best-selling book The Starfish And the Spider, which lays out a new organizational theory for considering all organizations as existing on a continuum between centralized to decentralized, with different implications and strategies for each firm based upon their position on that axis. In interviews with The Washington Post and USA Today, Beckstrom explains how, using the 'Starfish' concept illustrated in The Starfish And the Spider, the U.S. Government can take a different approach in their dealings with Al-Qaeda. Beckstrom is also the formulator of an economic model for valuing networks, Beckstrom's law, which was presented at BlackHat 2009 and Defcon 2009.
Beckstrom, a pioneer in the field of derivatives trading and firm-wide risk management, was coached by Nobel Laureate William F. Sharpe, which resulted in the first book on a new theory, "Value at Risk."
National Cyber Security Center
On March 20, 2008, Beckstrom was appointed to run the newly created National Cybersecurity Center, a position requiring "advanced thought leadership in areas like coordination, collaboration and team work in order to best serve the mission".
On March 5, 2009, less than a year after the position was created, he stated that he would resign as the Director of the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) on Friday, March 13, 2009. He has recommended the Deputy Director Mary Ellen Seale as his successor. He stated that a lack of cooperation from the NSA and insufficient funding led to his resignation. He stated that he received $500,000 which funded five weeks of operation. He has stated that he supports a more decentralized approach and opposes the NSA's move to try to "rule over" the NCSC.
Presidency of ICANN
On 25 June 2009, at its 35th meeting in Sydney, Australia, the Board of ICANN resolved to appoint Rod Beckstrom as its CEO and President. At ICANN, he presided over a number of notable developments, including the 15 July 2010 DNSSEC signing of the DNS root, and the 20 June 2011 opening of the gTLD namespace to additional applicants. On July 1, 2012 he was succeeded as CEO by ICANN's COO as CEO pro tem who served in that capacity until Beckstrom's permanent replacement Fadi Chehade was able to take up his position on 1 October 2012.
An active participant in the non-profit arena, Beckstrom serves on the board of trustees of Environmental Defense Fund, an organization involved in designing, advocating and implementing environmental policy solutions, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the California Climate Act. He is also a trustee of Jamii Bora Trust, a micro-lending group with 170,000 members, based in Nairobi.
- "Follow the Leader, or Think Like a Starfish?". The Washington Post. 2007-01-01. pp. A11.
- Jones, Del (2007-01-03). "Can small businesses help win the war?". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Gorman, Siobhan (2008-03-20). "Outsider to Run Cyber-Security Initiative". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A8.
- Krebs, Brian (2008-03-27). "White House Taps Tech Entrepreneur For Cyber Defense Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Naraine, Ryan (2008-03-21). "Tech Exec Picked for Top Cyber-Security Post". Security. Eweek. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- Shachtman, Noah (March 21, 2008). "Military Surrenders Cyber Security to the Starfish". Info War, Paper Pushers & Powerpoint Rangers. Wired Blog. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- Beckstrom, Rod (March 5, 2009). "Beckstrom Resignation" (PDF). Resignation Letter (U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- GORMAN, SIOBHAN (March 7, 2009). "Cybersecurity Chief Resigns". Politics (The Wall Street Journal). Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- "Federal Cybersecurity Chief Quits, Blasts National Security Agency". Scitech (The Wall Street Journal). March 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- Claburn, Thomas (March 9, 2009). "U.S. Cybersecurity Director Resigns, Blames NSA". Rod Beckstrom criticizes the NSA's dominance of most of the nation's cybersecurity initiatives. InformationWeek. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- Acohido, Byron. "National cybersecurity director resigns; cites roadblocks". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
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- Zetter, Kim (March 9, 2009). "NSA Chief Continues Bid to Take Over Cybersecurity". Cybersecurity. Wired Blog. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
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- "Top US cybersecurity official quits". AFP Google. March 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- Holmes, Allan (2009-03-09). "Cyber an NSA, Not a DHS, Thing". Tech insider. nextgov. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- Resende, Patricia (March 9, 2009). "Cybersecurity Chief Resigns Amid Power Struggle". newsfactor.com. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- San Miguel, Renay (2009-03-09). "Political Turf Wars Drive Out US Cybersecurity Chief". Security. TechNewsWorld. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
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- C. BALDOR, LOLITA; Eileen Sullivan (March 7, 2009). "Cybersecurity director resigns amid turf battles". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- Zetter, Kim (March 9, 2009). "Outgoing DHS Cyber Chief Expands on Why He Resigned". Cybersecurity. Wired Blog. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- ICANN (June 26, 2009). "Internet Security Expert Named ICANN CEO" (PDF). ICANN. ICANN. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
- Murphy, Kevin (20 June 2011). "World braces for domain name EXPLOSION, ICANN approves dot-everything". London: The Register. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011.
- Staff (22 June 2012). "Icann hire Fadi Chehade as new chief executive". BBC News.
- Jesdanun, Anick (23 June 2012). "Internet group picks little-known executive as CEO". The Austin Statesman (Austin, Texas).
- Discussion of Beckstrom's NCSC appointment, at Shepherd's Pi
- USA Today article
- New Yorker article on Jamii Bora October 30, 2006
- Appearances on C-SPAN