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Ex-NSA Official Harry Coker Tapped for National Cyber Director Job

The Biden administration has nominated former Navy commander Harry Coker to replace the retired Chris Inglis.

Washington DC

Former Navy commander and senior official in the NSA and CIA Harry Coker has been formally tapped to replace the retired Chris Inglis as the U.S. government’s National Cyber Director.

Coker’s nomination, announced by the Biden administration on Wednesday, puts him in line to lead the implementation of the government’s newly formed national cybersecurity strategy and manage the tricky relationship between the federal government and big-tech vendors struggling to cope with nonstop malicious hacker attacks.

Coker is a senior national security official with more than four decades of public service, including in leadership positions in the U.S. Navy, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and National Security Agency (NSA). 

He served as Executive Director of the NSA between 2017 and 2019, where he is credited with managing the largest component of the U.S. intelligence community.  Before that, Coker was Director of Open Source Enterprise in the CIA’s Directorate of Digital Innovation.

Coker is also an operating partner at British venture capital outfit C5 Capital and spent time on the Azure Mission Cloud advisory board at Microsoft.

The National Cyber Director position, a job established by federal law and long championed by lawmakers and outside experts, was created to help ensure a more streamlined strategy and coordinated response to cyberattacks that invariably pull in officials from multiple agencies. 

Former NSA deputy director Chris Inglis served as the first National Cyber Director before retiring earlier this year.  Inglis and his team crafted the National Cyber Strategy that pushes for stronger regulations for companies and suppliers in the critical infrastructure sector and a more aggressive government response to major hacking attacks.  

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Related: National Cyber Strategy Pushes Regulation, Hack-Back Operations

Related: Chris Inglis Steps Down as US National Cyber Director 

Related: Zero-Trust and the Biden Cybersecurity Executive Order

Related: Biden Names 2 Ex-NSA Officials for Senior Cyber Positions

Written By

Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. He is a security community engagement expert who has built programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and GReAT. Ryan is a founding-director of the Security Tinkerers non-profit, an advisor to early-stage entrepreneurs, and a regular speaker at security conferences around the world.

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