The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act included an amendment that created a new office within the federal government that will focus on cybersecurity. The law requires President Biden to appoint a national cyber director.
In the wake of the hack that targeted the software firm SolarWinds and affected several government agencies, US officials are making a big deal about the new role and cybersecurity in general.
According to reports, the leading candidate to be Biden’s national cyber director is Jen Easterly, who filled various intelligence roles in the Obama administration. Easterly also helped for US Cyber Command, the military arm of Washington’s cyber activities.
Biden is also working on filling positions in the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). According to Politico, Biden will likely tap former DHS official Robert Silvers to head the CISA, and Eric Goldstein, another DHS veteran, to lead CISA’s Cybersecurity Division.
All three of these new officials will likely have a say in how the US responds to the SolarWinds hack. Without providing evidence, US intelligence agencies said Russia was “likely” behind the intrusion. Biden administration officials have said they plan to retaliate for the hack and have floated ideas, including offensive cyber operations.