Biden to Nominate Former Obama NSA Deputy to Serve as Cyber Director

April 12, 2021 Updated: April 12, 2021

President Joe Biden is planning to nominate a former National Security Agency (NSA) official to serve as the national cyber director at the White House, officials said.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, said that the president “took another important step forward in strengthening our nation’s cyber capability.”

Sullivan then went on to say that Chris Inglis will be nominated as Biden’s National Cyber Director. Jen Easterly will be nominated as the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), which is a Homeland Security agency that oversees cybersecurity for civilian government networks.

Inglis was the former deputy director of the NSA under the Obama administration, while Easterly—another former Obama administration official—previously worked in the NSA as well.

“If confirmed, Chris and Jen will add deep expertise, experience and leadership to our world-class cyber team, which includes the first-ever Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger, as well as strong, crisis-tested professionals from the FBI to ODNI to the Department of Homeland Security to U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency,” Sullivan said in a statement on Monday

“I’m proud of what we are building across the U.S. government when it comes to cyber,” he added. “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.”

Former CISA director Chris Krebs, who was fired by former President Donald Trump, praised the appointments as “brilliant picks.”

Earlier this month, the White House asked Congress for $110 million in new funding to aid DHS to improve its cybersecurity and hire more federal employees.

Separately, several lawmakers said this month they’re concerned they’ve been kept in the dark about what suspected hackers stole from the federal government and they pressed Biden administration officials for more details about the scope of what’s known as the SolarWinds hack. The far-reaching SolarWinds breach is said to have been carried out by Russian actors.

In letters to top officials, Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said recent reporting by The Associated Press “raised the troubling possibility that some federal agencies did not fully report” the extent of the breach to Congress.

“Time and again this committee has discussed the challenges of defending against sophisticated, well-resourced, and patient cyber adversaries. Nevertheless, the fact remains that despite significant investments in cyber defenses, the federal government did not initially detect this cyberattack,” the senators wrote in their letter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.