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Former NSA Executive Tapped As US National Cyber Director

With four decades of government experience.
Emily Hill
Contributing Writer

The U.S. Senate recently confirmed Harry Coker Jr. as the second National Cyber Director, a key position advising the administration on cybersecurity policy and strategy. Coker, a Navy veteran and former NSA executive, enters the White House with four decades of government experience.

The establishment of the National Cyber Director position was in response to the escalating cyber threats faced by the United States. Coker’s appointment fills a vacancy that emerged after the departure of Chris Inglis in February.

Why it matters: Coker’s confirmation comes at a critical juncture, with the United States facing a myriad of cyber threats, including concerns about potential interference in the upcoming presidential election by foreign government hackers.

  • During his confirmation hearings, Coker emphasized the collaborative nature of his office, describing its role as a supporter to local and state governments in securing their elections.
  • Coker draws attention to the intersection of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. With the acknowledgment that cyber threats are evolving, he underscores the potential role of AI tools in processing large volumes of data rapidly. The Government Accountability Office’s report, identifying over 1,000 AI use cases across 20 agencies, highlights the growing recognition of AI’s potential in enhancing cybersecurity capabilities.
  • With a focus on expanding the workforce supporting cybersecurity initiatives, Coker highlights the need to extend recruitment efforts beyond traditional channels. This includes reaching beyond four-year colleges and urban areas to diversify the pool of candidates, acknowledging the importance of cultivating a skilled and diverse workforce to address evolving cyber challenges.

Go Deeper –> Senate confirms Navy, NSA veteran Coker as national cyber director – Federal Times

Harry Coker confirmed as White House cyber director – Politico

US Senate confirms new national cyber director – Reuters

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