In the wake of repeated attacks against government agencies and private infrastructure, Chris Inglis stepped into the role of the United States’ first ever National Cyber Director, having been confirmed by the Senate in June.

 

“Inglis’ position, which Congress created in last year’s defense policy bill, has few formal powers, but he’s responsible for reviewing agencies’ cyber budgets and evaluating their spending decisions.” (POLITICO).  

 

With federal agencies sometimes regarding cyber-security as a lower priority than other programs, Inglis aims to change their mindset with what he calls “federal coherence”.

 

“Inglis says he thinks he can change that mindset by orchestrating speedy assistance from DHS’ Cyber-security and Infrastructure Security Agency when agencies get hacked — which will underscore why they need to take the issue seriously in the future.” (POLITICO).

 

Inglis has a clear ideology in mind when it comes to how he will lead in the position to improve cyber-security of the nation.

 

"By undertaking a range of activities, by relying on the “resilience and robustness in people,” and by bringing together all instruments of power in a unified way across agencies and across nations, the United States may be able to make systems defensible, he told the committee. In this way, even if perfect prevention cannot be achieved, the fire can still be made manageable.” (Just Security).  

 

With this approach, Inglis plans to increase strategies against cyber-attacks such as ransomware.

 

“Despite some success over the past several months, Inglis says the federal government still needs to develop a much more strategic approach to ransomware and cyber-crime, which he called a ‘systemic’ problem. 'We're not actually figuring out how to prevent them from accessing those systems. We're not finding ways to bring them to justice. We're not finding ways to follow the money,’ Inglis said. ‘All of that adds up and constitutes a system that creates weakness - from a lack of resilience to the economy to the unmitigated avarice of those actors. You have to address all of those things.’” (Bank Info Security).

 

With “federal cohesion”, Inglis sees communication as one of the most important aspects of cyber-security moving forward.

 

“Inglis identified information sharing between agencies as one of the biggest barriers inhibiting cybersecurity, as the reluctance of officials to share insights and hunches, rather than merely information, prevents agencies from acting with a common cause.” (Just Security).  

 

Inglis will work closely with the White House on any new cyber-security rules. However, not all are happy with this new addition to the national directory and the consequential regulations that it might bring.

 

“Industry groups have pushed back against regulations, saying voluntary standards offer greater flexibility amid changing technology.” (POLITICO).

 

Inglis is firm that more regulations will improve the nation’s cyber-security and is confident in his stance.

 

“Enlightened self-interest and market forces only get you so far,” Inglis said. “There are going to be some critical functions where we must consider, to what degree is it not optional to achieve a certain standard of security.” (POLITICO).

 

Inglis views his role as cyber director to be focused on “unity of effort” and “unity of purpose”.

 

“The primary purpose of his position, he stated, is to add value and coherence to cybersecurity policy in order to signal to adversaries that they “need to beat all of us, not one of us.” Combating cyberattacks must be a team effort, he said, and the national cyber director must work to ensure that there is a strategy in place that can implement the work of various agencies in a unified way.” (Just Security).  

 

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Sources: 

Geller, Eric. “The First National Cyber Director Has Big Plans to Toughen U.S. Digital Defenses.” POLITICO, 30 Aug. 2021, www.politico.com/news/2021/08/30/chris-inglis-cyber-attacks-507021?&web_view=true. 

Ferguson, Scott “National Cyber Director Sees Ransomware As Continuing Threat.” Bank Info Security, Sept. 9 2021, www.bankinfosecurity.com/national-cyber-director-sees-ransomware-as-continuing-threat-a-17499

Strongwater, Allison. “Four Key Takeaways From the Senate’s Cybersecurity Confirmation Hearing.” June, 11, 2021. https://www.justsecurity.org/76883/four-key-takeaways-from-the-senates-cybersecurity-confirmation-hearing/