The Senate confirmed John C. Inglis to be America’s first national cyber director, installing new leadership to oversee the development of a national cyber policy amid a flood of online attacks hitting critical infrastructure and compromising federal government networks.
Mr. Inglis, a former deputy director of the National Security Agency, has said his first task will be to determine if the federal government has a unifying cyber strategy and whether the government’s existing cyber structure works.
Among the first challenges Mr. Inglis will face involves personnel. Sen. Angus King, the Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats, has described Mr. Inglis’ position and the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are equivalent to the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the cyber domain.
CISA is still without Senate-confirmed leadership. While Mr. Inglis’ confirmation sailed through the Senate on a voice vote Thursday, Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican, on Wednesday placed a hold on President Biden’s pick to run the CISA, Jen Easterly, over Mr. Scott’s concerns about immigration and the southern border. Mr. Scott has pledged to block a vote until Mr. Biden visits the U.S.-Mexico border.
CISA is overseen by acting Director Brandon Wales, who took the agency’s top position after former President Trump fired its previous leader, Chris Krebs, because of a dispute about the security of the 2020 election.
“Jen Easterly & Chris Inglis same day confirmation hearing. Voted unanimously out of [committee] together. He was confirmed today, she was not,” said Mr. Krebs on Twitter. “Why? Politics over NatSec, that’s why. @CISAgov deserves better. We deserve better. Confirm Jen now.”
Mr. Biden has also selected Anne Neuberger to be deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, making her the lead cyber official in the White House.