Joe Biden, the President of the United States of America, has appointed two senior ex-National Security Agency (NSA) executives for key cyber roles in his administration. The move indicates the seriousness with which this administration plans to tackle cybersecurity, on the back of the two major cyber hacks involving SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange servers.
The positions being filled would be that of national cyber director, a new role, and head of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency. The two officials nominated for this role are former NSA deputy director Chris Inglis and Jen Easterly, a former NSA intelligence officer who helped stand up U.S. Cyber Command more than a decade ago.
“I’m proud of what we are building across the U.S. government when it comes to cyber,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement announcing Biden’s plan to nominate Inglis and Easterly. “We are determined to protect America’s networks and to meet the growing challenge posed by our adversaries in cyberspace — and this is the team to do it.”
This move is in stark contrast to what was done during the Trump administration when the importance of cybersecurity was minimized. The position of cybersecurity coordinator was eliminated in 2018, despite widespread condemnation and opposition by the lawmakers.
Praise from several quarters
“the need for a leader with statutory authority to coordinate the development and implementation of a national cyber strategy to defend and secure everything from our hospitals to our power grid could not be more clear.”- Cyberspace Solarium Commission
“We don’t want to rush the process in any way. On the other hand, another attack could occur at any moment,” Sen Angus King said, an independent from Maine who has previously expressed frustration with how long the Biden administration took to fill the position
“If confirmed, Chris and Jen will add deep expertise, experience, and leadership to our world-class cyber team,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.