Biden formally appoints NSA’s Anne Neuberger to key national security position


President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team on Wednesday announced three key national security appointments, including tapping Anne Neuberger, a top official at the National Security Agency (NSA), to serve in a new cybersecurity-focused role on the National Security Council. 

Neuberger, who currently serves as director of cybersecurity at the NSA, will take on the position of deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, a new position created as the nation continues to grapple with the fallout of a major Russian cyberattack on federal agencies.

The Biden transition team also announced the selection of Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, the former deputy secretary of the Department of Energy under former President Obama, to serve as deputy national security adviser and homeland security adviser. Russ Travers, the former acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), was appointed to serve as deputy homeland security adviser.

“These dedicated public servants will be integral in keeping the American people safe and building capacity to prepare for and respond to the full spectrum of threats we face — from cyber intrusions to grid attacks, from possible future pandemics to deliberate acts of terror,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday. 

“They will strengthen our resilience to natural disasters, and work with our allies and friends to ensure the cyber rules of the road are made by democracies,” he added. “Our collaborative, cross-agency approach to national security, including our close work with critical infrastructure and the private sector to protect against threats to the American people, will deliver strong results for all Americans.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also praised the appointments.

“This outstanding team of dedicated public servants will be ready to hit the ground running on day one to address the transnational challenges facing the American people — from threats at our borders to threats from violent domestic extremists to cyber and disaster preparedness,” Harris said in a separate statement. “They reflect the very best of our nation and they have the knowledge and experience to help build our nation back better for all Americans.”

Politico first reported last week that Neuberger would take on the new position on the National Security Council. The role was created by the incoming Biden administration following the discovery of a Russian cyberattack on IT company SolarWinds that compromised much of the federal government, including the Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury departments. 

Neuberger has held multiple positions at the NSA for more than a decade, previously leading the agency’s election security efforts and serving as the assistant deputy director of the NSA’s Operations Directorate and as the NSA’s first chief risk officer. 

The NSA tweeted its congratulations Wednesday, noting Neuberger’s selection by the incoming Biden administration “is a testament to the cybersecurity and technology expertise found in the halls of NSA. We look forward to working with her as she continues her government service.”

Sherwood-Randall has also served extensively in government, including as the White House coordinator for defense policy, countering weapons of mass destruction and arms control in the Obama administration and as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia during the Clinton administration. 

Sherwood-Randall also previously served as Biden’s chief adviser on foreign and defense policy while he previously represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate. 

Prior to serving as acting director at the NCTC, Travers was deputy director of the agency for seven years and also served on the National Security Council during the Obama administration as a special assistant to the President and senior director for Transnational Threat Integration.

The appointments to key national security positions come weeks after Biden announced his nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and appointed Jake Sullivan as his national security adviser. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is set to consider Mayorkas’s nomination at a hearing next week. 

The Biden transition team has not yet announced who will fill the recently created national cyber director role at the White House, or leadership picks for DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, whose leadership was hollowed out after President Trump fired former director Christopher Krebs and other leaders were asked to step down in November.

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Biden transition team Donald Trump Jake Sullivan Joe Biden NCTC NSA

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