US senate confirms former NSA official as CISA head

Jen Easterly will lead the agency as its first official director since November 2020

The US Senate has confirmed Jen Easterly as the new director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) following the firing of Chris Krebs in November 2020 by former president Donald Trump.

Easterly will be the second Senate-confirmed director to lead the organisation following its establishment in 2018 and brings substantial corporate and military experience to the role.

Easterly worked at Morgan Stanley for four and a half years, her most recent position being head of Firm Resilience and the Fusion Resilience Centre, where she focused on assessing, detecting, and responding to cyber threats, vulnerabilities, or incidents that threatened the company. 

Before that, she worked for three years as the special assistant to the president and senior director for counterterrorism where she led the development and coordination of US counterterrorism and hostage policy.

Easterly also worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) for a total of just over seven years, in positions such as cyber advisor, deputy director for counterterrorism, and battalion commander. She also served as part of the team commissioned to design and build the US Cyber Command from April 2009 to July 2010.

She was also part of the Cyber Policy Team Lead for the Biden-Harris Transition Team between September 2020 and January 2021.

“I congratulate Jen Easterly on her confirmation as Director of CISA,” said Alejandro N. Mayorkas, secretary of Homeland Security. “Jen is a brilliant cybersecurity expert and a proven leader with a career spanning military service, civil service, and the private sector. I am proud to welcome her to the DHS team and look forward to working together to protect our country from urgent cybersecurity and physical threats.”

Mayorkas also thanked Brandon Wales, who was serving as acting director of the organisation for the last eight months, for his leadership.

In November last year, the CISA’s first director Chris Krebs was fired by former president Donald Trump for disputing claims of fraudulent activity in the presidential elections. Krebs tweeted that claims the election systems were manipulated were “unsubstantiated” which prompted Trump to announce Krebs was “terminated” as director of the agency.

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