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Biden makes key cyber security nominations at Homeland Security

CISA nominee Jen Easterly would replace last-minute Trump appointment

President Joe Biden has announced his nominations for two key roles at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Jen Easterly is his choice for the Cybersecurity and Security Agency director, while John Tien is his pick for deputy secretary at the DHS.

Easterly served as cyber policy lead for the Biden-Harris transition team. She is also a veteran, having spent over two decades in intelligence and cyber operations roles in the US Army. While serving in the Army she was responsible for creating the army's first cyber-battalion and was also involved in designing and creating US Cyber Command.

She has served at the National Security Agency as the deputy for counterterrorism and was also a special assistant to the president earlier in her career. 

Her other positions include membership of the Council on Foreign Relations and fellowships at the New America Foundation and the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.

Since 2017, she has worked at Morgan Stanley. She joined the bank to build its Cybersecurity Fusion Center, which underpinned its cyber security operations, and was head of firm resilience and the Fusion Resilience Center there.

If confirmed, Easterly will replace Brandon Wales, who former-President Trump appointed as acting director of CISA after firing previous director Chris Krebs via Twitter. SolarWinds subsequently hired Krebs to help it boost its cyber security following its compromise and the consequent massive government hack.

Tien, a 24-year US Army veteran, spent several years on the National Security Council, first as the director for Iraq under George W. Bush and then as the senior director for Afghanistan and Pakistan under the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011. He then moved to the private sector as a managing director at Citigroup.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas praised the nominations.

“I am excited that President Biden has nominated an extraordinary group of individuals for critical leadership positions in the Department of Homeland Security," he said. "They are highly regarded and accomplished professionals with deep experience in their respective fields. Together they will help advance the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to ensure the safety and security of the American people. I look forward to working with the Senate in support of their swift confirmation.”

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