Biden taps Harry Coker for national cyber director post
President Biden intends to nominate Harry Coker, a former NSA and CIA official, to be the next national cyber director, the White House announced Tuesday.
Why it matters: The position has been vacant for roughly five months after Chris Inglis, the first-ever national cyber director, stepped down in February.
- Lawmakers, former officials and tech industry groups have been pushing the administration for months to quickly fill the vacancy.
- Coker still needs to go through Senate confirmation before potentially assuming the role.
The big picture: Congress created the Office of the National Cyber Director in early 2021 to harmonize and lead the government's cybersecurity strategies.
- So far, the office has been able to lead the creation and implementation of the administration's first national cyber strategy, as well as host several forums on various topics, such as electric vehicle cybersecurity and workforce issues.
- But the office has also been mired with reports of political in-fighting and senior staff departures in recent months.
Details: Coker's background seemingly mirrors those of other top cybersecurity officials in the administration who rose up through the intelligence community.
- He spent nearly 20 years in the intelligence community, including stints as the NSA's executive director and inside the CIA's directorate of science and technology.
- Coker graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980, and currently is an operating partner at D.C. area venture firm C5 Capital, according to his LinkedIn. Inglis, his potential predecessor, also re-entered government after some time at Paladin Capital and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Of note: Coker also worked on Biden's transition as a member of the agency review team focused on creating a short-list for intelligence community positions.
What they're saying: An aide for Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair Gary Peters (D-Mich.) told Axios the committee intends to move Coker's nomination "as soon as possible."
Yes, but: The administration held Coker's name close to the vest, and his nomination comes after the White House allegedly declined to nominate Kemba Walden, the acting national cyber director, due to her personal debts, according to the Washington Post.