Cybersecurity

Lawmakers call on Biden to nominate new national cyber director

Lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to expedite the nomination of a new national cyber director because the delay could slow the implementation of the national cybersecurity strategy.

In a letter to Biden, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who co-chair the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, said the administration should move quickly on this nomination as cyberattacks continue to be a significant threat to the nation.

Biden would be nominating someone to replace former National Cyber Director Chris Inglis, who resigned earlier this year

“While we applaud the White House’s efforts under Director Inglis to stand up the office and his strong leadership in drafting the National Cybersecurity Strategy, we are extremely concerned that the three-month delay (and counting) in nominating a candidate to replace Chris will hinder the implementation of the strategy and lead to a lessening of the stature of the office,” the lawmakers said in the letter.

King and Gallagher urged the president to nominate acting director Kemba Walden, who was principal deputy under Inglis. The lawmakers said she is “highly qualified” and “well suited” for the position, and they believe that she will receive a swift confirmation. 

Walden is a former counsel at Microsoft who joined the office last year.

Inglis, who served as the nation’s first national cyber director, left the position after a year and a half.

His position was created as part of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to strengthen the U.S. “digital ecosystem” while “aggressively addressing and mitigating the risks and threats at large in cyberspace,” according to the White House.

The lawmakers’ letter comes a day after the Wall Street Journal reported Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command, is expected to resign from his positions in the coming months.

Nakasone, who was appointed to lead both agencies in 2018, is looking to leave by August or September, a source told The Wall Street Journal.

It’s unclear, however, whether the four-star general is planning to retire, take another position in the government or move to the private sector.

Tags Angus King Angus King Biden administration Chris Inglis Chris Inglis Joe Biden Mike Gallagher Mike Gallagher Paul Nakasone Paul Nakasone

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