National Cyber Director Chris Inglis plans to step down from his position as a senior White House cybersecurity adviser, a decision first reported by CNN and confirmed to CyberScoop by three sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
The news comes as Inglis is traveling in Japan on a trip meant to strengthen cyber collaboration with a key ally in the region and as cybersecurity issues generally are topping the White House agenda.
President Biden nominated Inglis, the former deputy director of the National Security Agency, to lead the newly formed Office of the National Cyber Director last year, tasking him to stand up an office that aims to bring a unified approach to U.S. cybersecurity policy.
Created in response to a recommendation by the final report of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, the ONCD is supposed to coordinate cybersecurity strategy and policy among the various U.S. government agencies. Its director is the president’s principal cybersecurity advisor.
Inglis spent nearly 30 years at the NSA, where his final years were dominated by dealing with the fallout from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the agency contractor whose revelations prompted intense scrutiny of U.S. intelligence collection.
In recent months, the ONCD has been at work drafting the White House’s cybersecurity strategy, a document that is expected to call for a more muscular approach in combatting cyberattacks. And while it is unclear exactly when Inglis plans to leave office, his departure may coincide with the publication of the strategy.
At a conference in October, Inglis defended that tougher approach.
“Tough means that we have to be serious about what we want cyberspace to do for us and to then be willing to make investments to achieve that,” Inglis said. “Because at the end of the day, something like market forces only takes us so far.”
A spokesman for ONCD declined to comment on Inglis’s planned departure.
Kemba Walden, who joined ONCD from Microsoft in May and currently serves as the principal deputy national cyber director, will serve as acting director in Inglis’s absence, according to CNN.
Suzanne Smalley contributed reporting.