Chris Inglis, the nation’s first-ever National Cyber Director, is building out his office with an inaugural strategic intent statement, as well as the addition of Federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Chris DeRusha who will have a dual designation as the deputy national cyber director for Federal cybersecurity.

The Office of the National Cyber Director’s strategic intent statement explains that the office is there to “champion Federal coherence across U.S. government in cyber policy, action, and doctrine.”

The office’s intent is not to compete with other cyber agencies, but instead serve as a “complimentary” agency, Inglis explained during an event on Thursday hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Inglis said he imagines his office will have around 75 to 80 people, which he said is “too small” to meet current cyber mission needs.

“That’s not a dodge-the-bullet moment. That means that if we’re to actually make a contribution we have to work with and through others,” he said.

For that reason, Inglis said he added DeRusha to the team. “That is not a subjugation of his authorities to the national cyber director,” Inglis said. “It’s an alignment in harmonization, such that we’ll make sure that what we do, we do together.”

Collaboration Extends to TMF, Cyber EO

Inglis’ office is frequently collaborating with other members of the Federal cyber team, on areas such as the Biden administration’s sweeping Cybersecurity Executive Order (EO) and the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF), he said.

Just this Wednesday, Inglis said he, DeRusha, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, and Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger, chaired a meeting “to take a look a hard look at where we are” on the TMF.

“We’re [at a] pretty good place in terms of using that one-time money to do some controls uplift, but we’re spending as much time to think about the doctrinal and perhaps the enduring enterprise-wide capabilities that will build into that so that we achieve coherence that then helps us manage this more efficiently, more effectively,” Inglis said.

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Of the $1 billion of new money that TMF received earlier this year under the American Rescue Plan Act, nearly $700 million of that new funding remains to be awarded.

As for the cyber EO, Neuberger, who also spoke at the event, noted that collaboration is critical as the sixth-month anniversary of the order comes up in November.

“We’re actively working with agencies to see where they are. Chris is a core partner in that work,” Neuberger said of Inglis. “It’ll be a great example of where the National Cyber Director is a partnership on implementation, on bringing that coherence Chris has talked about, but that’s going to be the test.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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