Biden’s Cybersecurity Leader Nominee Draws Early Praise

U.S. Rep. John Katko said that he's encouraged after President Joe Biden announced this week that he would nominate Jen Easterly to lead the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 8, 2021. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
(TNS) — U.S. Rep.  John Katko  said he's encouraged after President  Joe Biden  announced this week that he would nominate  Jen Easterly  to lead the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Easterly has a strong resume, especially on cyber issues. She is a West Point graduate and was a  Rhodes Scholar  at the University of Oxford. She served in the Army for more than 20 years, which included deployments to Afghanistan, the Balkans, Haiti and Iraq.

She had a previous stint at the White House as a special assistant to the president and senior director for counterterrorism.

Easterly's also has private-sector experience. In 2017, she began working for Morgan Stanley
 and established its Cybersecurity Fusion Center, which she led.

Katko, R- Camillus, won't vote on Easterly's nomination — she must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. But he expressed his approval of the president's selection to lead CISA.

Ms. Easterly  brings substantial credibility and a reputation of working productively between government and the private sector to increase the cybersecurity resilience of the nation," said Katko, who is the ranking Republican member on the House Homeland Security Committee.

Cybersecurity issues have been a high priority for Katko, who was the ranking member of a cybersecurity subcommittee in the last Congress
. At a House Homeland Security Committee meeting in February, a pair of experts told Katko that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency should oversee cybersecurity for federal departments and related agencies.

CISA is a nascent agency. It was established in 2018 — Katko supported its creation — and is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Katko noted that the agency is playing a role in responding to two major cyber incidents that occurred within the last several months, including the SolarWinds espionage campaign and the Microsoft Exchange server hack.

"As a nation, we are at a crossroads in our strategy to defend and secure the .gov cyber space, and strong leadership is essential," he said. "I continue to call on  President Biden  to support desperately needed changes to allow CISA more centralized, real-time visibility into the entirety of the civilian .gov and put CISA on a much-needed path to becoming a $5 billion agency."

Katko added, "I look forward to working with  Ms. Easterly  and ( House Homeland Security Committee Chairman  Bennie Thompson ) to ensure that CISA has the resources, workforce and authorities it needs to carry out its mission."

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