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White House Taps National Security Vet as Cybersecurity Lead

Harry Coker Jr. is now the second official national cyber director for the federal government, and he comes to the job with a resume that includes leadership stints with the CIA and the NSA.  

professional headshot of Harry Coker
Credit: National Security Agency
The federal government has named Harry Coker Jr. as the next national cyber director.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Coker's appointment this week, paving the way for Coker to be sworn in, the White House has announced. The announcement ends a 10-month period without a permanent national cyber director after Chris Inglis departed earlier this year. Coker comes to the role after stints working in the CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), private sector and U.S. Navy. He is the second person to hold the position in a permanent capacity.

Coker was formerly executive director of the NSA, and he also held leadership roles within the CIA’s Directorate of Digital Innovation, Directorate of Science and Technology, and the Director’s Area, according to his biography. Coker's specific titles with the CIA were director of the Open Source Enterprise, deputy director of CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, and member of the Executive Diversity and Inclusion Council.

“Harry Coker Jr. is an absolutely excellent choice for national cyber director, with years of critical national security experience in a variety of roles, which have provided him with a wealth of knowledge on cybersecurity issues," said Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines in a press release supporting his nomination. “Harry started in the Navy but over the years he has worked in so many different corners of the intelligence community on our hardest missions, including as a leader of the Open Source Enterprise and in digital innovation.”

Coker currently is also an operating partner at venture capital firm C5 Capital, which funds businesses in cybersecurity, energy security and space sectors, per the company.

The Office of the National Cyber Director was first established in 2021 and is charged with advising the president on cybersecurity policy and strategy. The office works across sectors and across government to “shape and coordinate federal cybersecurity policy,” per the White House.

The office has also been overseeing implementation of the National Cybersecurity Strategy.