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June 10, 2021

As Cyber Threats Rise, King Urges Confirmation of Chris Inglis as Nation’s First-Ever National Cyber Director

Solarium Co-Chair says of nominee and colleague: “I honestly believe, based upon three years of extensive engagement on this issue with people across the country, he is the single best person to fill this role”

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), today introduced fellow CSC commissioner Chris Inglis before his nomination hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) to become the country’s first-ever National Cyber Director (NCD). The newly-created National Cyber Director position was a key recommendation of the Cyber Solarium Commission, and was one of the 25 CSC recommendations included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021

America is under attack. We’re under attack today,” said Senator King. “And this is one of the most serious conflicts, one of the most serious challenges that this country has faced in the post-World War II period…[Cyber] is a ubiquitous challenge not only to the government but especially to the private sector. And that is one of the really significant challenges in how we respond. We have to reimagine conflict. We think of conflict in terms of armies and battle ships and air forces, but we really now talking about that the front line of this conflict can take place in a server farm on Wall Street, in a pipeline company or in an electric company or in a water service utility anywhere in America.

“Chris Inglis served with Mike Gallagher and I on the Solarium Commission which was created by this Congress in 2019 to devise a national cyber policy…Sitting next to me through most of those meetings was Chris Inglis who I had never known before but have gotten to know very well during this process. His credentials are impressive, in fact, when I first looked at them, I thought this guy has had two full careers, he must be 100 years old. He has 30 years of service in the federal government, particularly as Deputy Director of the National Security Agency but also 28 years in the Air Force as active duty, and also in the Air Force reserve, retiring as a general. He has degrees in computer science. He has immense knowledge and experience in this field. Beyond that, however, and the reason I am so enthusiastic about his nomination is his leadership qualities which I observed during the course of our deliberations in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. He has a quiet but persuasive leadership style. All of us have been in meetings where there’s one person and as they begin to speak, you lean over and say now what are they going to say because this is going to be important. That’s Chris Inglis.

“This is an immensely important job, because of the intersection between the private sector and the federal government and the complexity of the challenge throughout the federal government. The fundamental purpose of the National Cyber Director is to coordinate federal cyber policy among all these different agencies that have a piece of it. But also to coordinate cooperation between the federal government and the private sector. He’ll be working with Jen Easterly and Anne Neuberger in the National Security Council which I think represent the three absolute perfect combination to lead this effort to defend our nation. I am very proud to be able to introduce Chris Inglis to the committee. I honestly believe based upon three years of extensive engagement on this issue with people across the country, he is the single best person to fill this role. And a particularly important role as the first leader of the office of the National Cyber Director in the executive office of the President. So, Mr. Chairman I cannot recommend Chris Inglis more highly, and I am delighted that he is willing to re-enlist if you will in federal service and service to country.”

Today’s hearing also considered the nomination of Jen Easterly to serve as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Robin Carnahan to serve as Administrator of the General Services Administration. Given the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s influential role on America’s cyberposture, Easterly was introduced by Solarium Co-Chair Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wis).

As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senate Armed Services Committee, chair of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. and co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Senator King is recognized as one of Congress’s leading experts on cyberdefense and a strong advocate for a forward-thinking cyberstrategy that emphasizes layered cyberdeterrence. King and his fellow CSC Commissioners from the legislative branch have previously praised Inglis’s experience and vision, stating that “there is no one more qualified than Chris” for this vital role.  His expertise and national security insights were seen most recently on CNN’s “State of the Union” this past Sunday, live from Millinocket, Maine. The CSC was established by statute in the 2019 NDAA, officially launched in April 2019, and will continue to execute its statutory mission through December 2021. The Commission’s report and continued work seeks to strengthen America’s posture in cyberspace and identify opportunities to improve our national preparedness to defend ourselves against cyberattacks.  

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