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Grenell announces creation of intelligence community 'cyber executive'

Grenell announces creation of intelligence community 'cyber executive'
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Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell on Friday announced the creation of an intelligence community (IC) “cyber executive” as part of other organizational changes.

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the new position will “provide a single ODNI focus point for the cyber mission, which will strengthen the IC’s cyber posture to better defend U.S. national security interests.”

The cyber executive position will oversee four consolidated, previously separate ODNI cyber-focused organizations.

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The ODNI did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on which four organizations would be combined, or whether an individual had been selected to fill the position.

The creation of the IC cyber executive comes after more than a year of staff and leadership review of organizational changes, according to the ODNI. 

Other changes announced by Grenell on Friday included the establishment of the “Director’s Advisor for Military Affairs” position. This individual will serve as Grenell’s principal adviser for defense issues, and is intended to boost the ODNI’s efforts to collaborate with the Department of Defense.

The changes will also eliminate the ODNI’s Directorate of National Security Partnerships and transfer its functions to other ODNI offices. The group was tasked with coordinating IC and defense intelligence operations, among other duties.

The new changes come more than a month after Grenell appointed new leaders for the National Counterterrorism Center, and the same week the Senate confirmed William Evanina as director of the National Counterterrorism and Security Center. 

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Grenell, who was appointed to the position of acting DNI in February by President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE after the resignation of former acting DNI Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireRetired Navy admiral behind bin Laden raid says he voted for Biden Congressional Democrats request FBI briefing on foreign election interference efforts Wells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones MORE, has faced pushback during his leadership for changes made.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGreenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox Hillicon Valley: DOJ accuses Russian hackers of targeting 2018 Olympics, French elections | Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats | House Democrats slam FCC over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats MORE (D-Calif.) sharply rebuked Grenell’s changes in an April letter, taking issue with the fact that many organizational changes were made without consulting Congress, among several other concerns. Grenell later pushed back against Schiff’s concerns. 

A House Intelligence Committee official told The Hill on Friday that the committee is "assessing the proposed changes" from Grenell, and "will be examining both the operational and budgetary impact of any such changes."

"The Senate and House Intelligence Committees both requested that ODNI consult with the Committees before making any significant organizational changes like those announced today," the official said. "This is particularly important as there are no Senate confirmed personnel running the ODNI and the acting Director lacks relevant experience."

"That the current leadership at ODNI would choose to do so anyway, and at a time when the President has nominated a new Director, demonstrates both a lack of confidence in the nominee and contempt for the oversight process," the official added.  

It is unclear how long Grenell will continue to lead the ODNI. Trump nominated Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeHillicon Valley: Treasury sanctions Russian group accused of targeting critical facilities | Appeals court rules Uber, Lyft must comply with labor laws | Biden: Countries that target US elections will 'pay a price' Treasury sanctions Russian group accused of targeting US critical facilities with destructive malware Biden: Countries that interfere in US elections will 'pay a price' MORE (R-Texas) for the DNI position in February, and the Senate Intelligence Committee held a nomination hearing for Ratcliffe earlier this week.