Biden moves closer to filling critical cyber roles as administration is tested by attacks
June 10, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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National Security Agency Deputy Director John Chris Inglis testifies before the House Select Intelligence Committee on the NSA's PRISM program, which tracks web traffic and US citizens' phone records, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 18, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Two of the senior officials expected to round out President Joe Biden's cyber team will face lawmakers on Thursday for their confirmation hearing as the administration grapples with how to deal with the growing number of foreign ransomware attacks against American companies and organizations.
Chris Inglis is the nominee for the newly-created National Cyber Director role and Jen Easterly has been named to lead the cyber agency at the Department of Homeland Security, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Inglis and Easterly will have a joint confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, alongside Robin Carnahan, Biden's pick to lead the General Services Administration.
On the heels of the SolarWinds breach and back-to-back ransomware attacks that crippled critical infrastructure companies -- the Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods -- Inglis and Easterly will almost certainly face questions about the Biden administration's plans to protect the federal government and critical industries from increasingly persistent cybersecurity threats.
Both Easterly and Inglis are well-regarded by public and private industry officials and have deep cybersecurity backgrounds; together with Neuberger, all three are veterans of the National Security Agency.
Whatever power plays arise will face bureaucratic realities already in place: Neuberger's position at the National Security Council means she coordinates the interagency process on cyber and can task responsibilities to the military and intelligence community.
Inglis serves with the co-chairs on the commission, where he played a role in crafting the recommendation for the National Cyber Director, the position he is poised to fill.