President Biden today announced his intent to nominate Harry Coker – a former National Security Agency (NSA) and CIA official – to serve as the National Cyber Director (NCD).

If confirmed, Coker would be the nation’s second-ever permanent NCD, after Chris Inglis stepped down from the role in February.

Kemba Walden is currently serving as the acting director at Office of the National Cyber Director (OCND), but recently withdrew her name from consideration for the permanent position. Walden continues in the acting position currently.

Coker served as the executive director of the NSA from 2017 to 2019 and previously served as the director of open source enterprise in the CIA’s Directorate of Digital Innovation. Currently, he serves as a senior fellow at Auburn University’s McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security.

He also served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years in several positions, including as a surface warfare officer at sea, an engineering duty officer, and in various posts in the Intelligence Community.

Pending his confirmation, Coker would continue Walden’s work on the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the strategy’s implementation plan, which outlines 69 high-impact initiatives tasked to Federal agencies.

The ONCD was created by Congress in 2021 to advise the president on cybersecurity policy and strategy following a recommendation by the bipartisan Cyberspace Solarium Commission.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.