White House expands cyber policy office with senior hires


The White House announced on Tuesday that it is expanding its cyber policy office with three new hires, including a former Microsoft executive and a former CIA official.

Kemba Eneas Walden, a former assistant general counsel at Microsoft, will serve as principal deputy national cyber director. While at Microsoft, she was responsible for launching and leading its Digital Crimes Unit’s Ransomware Program. 

Prior to joining Microsoft, Walden spent nearly a decade at the Department of Homeland Security, most recently at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Neal Higgins, a former CIA official, will serve as deputy national cyber director for national cybersecurity. While at the CIA, Higgins oversaw the agency’s cyber operations and open-source collection. 

The Office of the National Cyber Director is also adding Rob Knake, who will serve as deputy national cyber director for strategy and budget.

Knake is a cybersecurity policy expert who previously worked as a fellow at different organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations and the Harvard Belfer Center’s Cyber Project. Knake also served in the Obama administration, including in the National Security Council office and the Department of Homeland Security. 

“As we continue to build this new office, the additions of Kemba, Neal, and Rob will accelerate our efforts to protect Americans in cyberspace,” said National Cyber Director Chris Inglis in a statement.

The new hires come amid heightened security concerns of potential Russian cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure in the West, as the U.S. and allies look to cripple Russia’s economy and support Ukraine’s military.

The Office of the National Cyber Director was established last year to address and mitigate cyber threats.

Tags Chris Inglis Chris Inglis cybersecurity

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