National Cyber Director Chris Inglis will retire from his position Feb. 15, ending a more than four decade career in national security.
Kemba Walden, principal deputy national cyber director and a former legal executive at Microsoft, will become acting director until Biden names a nominee for the post. The NCD post requires Senate confirmation.
A spokesperson for the Office of the National Cyber Director confirmed Inglis’s departure following a report by CNN.
Inglis became a leading advisor to President Joe Biden on how to secure U.S. digital infrastructure against a rising threat of malicious attacks, serving as the first U.S. NCD, a role he was confirmed to in June 2021.
“When Chris accepted the national cyber director role, it would have seemed too daunting to most since the office had no staff and limited clarity on what to do,” said Brandon Pugh, director of cybersecurity and emerging threats at the R Street Institute, via email. “However, he worked hard to help define the office in the cyber ecosystem domestically and abroad. There is still work to do, but his foundational work was important.”
Inglis was lauded by key officials in government and the private sector, who noted the critical role he played in helping the country recover from the 2020 SolarWinds supply chain attack and the surge in ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure providers.
“Chris Inglis has done extraordinary work to modernize America’s cyber defenses and implement a wide range of improvements shaped by his broad experience in the field as well as his valuable work on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission,” Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said in a statement. “As the first National Cyber Director, he has established a firm foundation for the office by coordinating activities across the federal government and authoring the first national cyber strategy.”
Inglis is retiring at a key juncture, as the national cyber strategy is expected to be unveiled within weeks. The National Cyber Strategy will outline the priorities on how to boost the nation’s cyber resilience.
“The key item that would be ideal to finish before his departure is the national cyber strategy,” Pugh said. “Some details have emerged, but many questions remain like the extent to which it will rely on heavy regulation and enforcement.”