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UPDATED: National Cyber Director Chris Inglis Has Stepped Down

Chris Inglis, the first national cyber director, has officially left the position. Principal Deputy National Cyber Director Kemba Walden will step in as acting director.

Chris Inglis answered questions during nomination hearings.
UPDATED — Chris Inglis, the nation’s first national cyber director, stepped down from the role Feb. 15. Principal Deputy National Cyber Director Kemba Walden will temporarily take over as acting director.

The news comes as the U.S. looks to release its first National Cyber Strategy. Inglis remained in office through the development of the strategy, which is currently going through an interagency review process, per The Washington Post.

Walden — or anyone replacing her as permanent national cyber director — will instead take on implementing that strategy.

Inglis thanked the presidential administration, Congress and his interim successor, Walden, in a series of tweets announcing his resignation, and praised the Office of the National Cyber Director.

“A special thanks to @KembaWalden46 for your friendship and partnership in this work. You’ve led @ONCD with me, side by side, and I know you will continue to relentlessly pursue a more resilient cyberspace as Acting Director,” Inglis said. “It's my great honor to have my name associated with the people of @ONCD who stewarded this organization from its very first days. I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and I look forward to watching what @ONCD and its partners will achieve in the future.”

Walden left Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit to join the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) in May.

The national cyber director serves as a "principal adviser to the president on cybersecurity policy and strategy, and cybersecurity engagement with industry and international stakeholders,” according to the White House.

Inglis previously served as deputy director of the National Security Agency, and came before the Senate about a year and a half ago, in June 2021, for a hearing over his nomination to the national cyber director role. He told senators he would work to develop a national cybersecurity strategy and bring cohesion across federal agencies’ cybersecurity activities.

In February 2022, Inglis advocated for a new vision of cybersecurity responsibilities, that shifted more of the burden of security off end users. Instead, federal government and major firms — those with the most resources — should take up more responsibility, Inglis said. That would see companies prioritize designing products to be secure over sending them to market quickly. It would also see federal government take more efforts to support private-sector security, such as through more detailed threat intelligence sharing.

Inglis highlighted the importance of fostering a collaborative approach to cybersecurity during the June 2022 RSA conference. During a panel, he and CISA Director Jen Easterly said such efforts have led to federal agencies presenting a more united message and improved transparency in dealings with the private sector.

Making such an approach stick, regardless of who’s currently in charge, depends on infusing it into agency culture, Inglis said at the time.

“Culture eats organization for breakfast, so we need to make sure we establish a positive, compelling culture that, essentially, outlasts us,” he said.

This article has been updated to reflect breaking news.