July 12, 2023
Mr. Jeff Zients, Chief of Staff
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20500
Dear Mr. Zients,
We the undersigned organizations respectfully urge President Biden to nominate a National Cyber Director (NCD) before the end of July considering the ever-changing and increasingly complex cyber landscape. Swift action is crucial in filling this role to protect our nation against ongoing threats and effectively tackle the challenges that lie ahead of us.
In line with our appreciation for the Administration’s unwavering commitment to enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity posture, we also commend the leadership of former Director Chris Inglis. Under his guidance, the White House established the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) and drafted the National Cyber Strategy. Throughout his tenure, Director Inglis demonstrated the importance of effective coordination and collaboration between the government and the private sector. As a result, ONCD’s receptiveness to input and willingness to listen has been invaluable in strengthening our collective cyber efforts.
However, we are concerned that the delay in nominating a candidate for the National Cyber Director role could impede the great work accomplished under Director Inglis and Acting Director Walden, hinder the implementation of the National Cyber Strategy, and jeopardize the effectiveness of ONCD. The nomination of this position presents a critical opportunity for the Administration to cement the significance of this office. Therefore, we urge you to promptly send a nomination to the Senate, and advocate for an expedited confirmation process to avoid the inevitable delays in nominations as an election nears.
Additionally, as a nominee is confirmed, we strongly recommend issuing an Executive Order to prevent confusion and publicly clarify the cybersecurity-oriented roles and responsibilities of ONCD, National Security Council (NSC), Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and other relevant cyber entities. Congress’s decision to make this a Senate-confirmed position has created potential overlaps, making such a clarification necessary. However, the way these issues are handled will define the Biden Administration’s lasting impact on cybersecurity policy and can demonstrate a comprehensive whole-of-government cybersecurity approach.
We appreciate your consideration on this important issue and stay ready to collaborate with the next National Cyber Director. Should you have any questions, or if we can assist in any other way, please contact Ari Schwartz at ASchwartz@Venable.com.
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