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Biden adviser Chris Inglis set to leave government

By Sarah May on
 December 25, 2022

In a significant, yet not entirely unexpected move, Biden administration National Cyber Director Chris Inglis is said to be resigning from his position in the coming months, as Politico reports.

Inglis was the first person to hold what was a newly created position charged with safeguarding U.S. infrastructure against hacker instructions and working to bolster the government's defenses against the same.

Departure timeline pending

Having accepted the key position in the summer 2021, Inglis reportedly had never officially indicated to the administration precisely how long he wished to serve in the role, but many believe a January end date is probable.

While a former White House official quoted by GovInfo Security stated that Inglis' departure could not be formally and directly confirmed, the fact that John Costello, his chief of staff, recently left his position could be taken as a strong sign of what is to come.

The unnamed official also noted, “He did say, from the beginning, he's only planning on staying a year, year and a half.”

The outlet referenced a quote from a senior congressional aide indicating that Inglis is likely to align his departure with President Joe Biden's expected adoption of a new cybersecurity strategy that will be heavy on added regulation for infrastructure protections. “Chris wants the strategy out before he goes,” a source told Politico.

Seasoned government veteran

His stint in the Biden White house is the culmination of almost 50 years of service in the government, according to GovInfo Security, and he spent 31 of those years in the Air Force, ultimately attaining the rank of brigadier general.

Also, former deputy director at the National Security Agency under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Inglis was known to see his role as the primary coordinator of federal cybersecurity activities, many of which tended to be disjointed.

According to Politico, Inglis considers himself successful in his current role if he facilitates a more unified federal positioning and voice when it comes to critical cyber issues.

During the Senate hearings in which he secured unanimous confirmation, Sen. Angus King (I-ME) described Inglis as someone with “a quiet but persuasive leadership style.”

Pro-regulation advocate

Inglis has made clear his belief in the need for more robust regulation in the area of critical infrastructure, telling at a think tank event in October, “The word 'regulation' or 'reporting requirements' often conjures up in the mind's eye this sense of burden – someone is about to require a burden, bear some penalty, some cost.”

“We too seldom think about what is the more important feature, which is: 'What's the benefit?'” he added.

He went on to succinctly describe the benefit of tighter regulation, namely, the reliable functioning of America's critical infrastructure.

“All of us want to walk over to a light switch and have every confidence when we flick that switch the lights will come on,” he explained.

According to Politico, Inglis has endorsed as his replacement top deputy Kemba Walden, who joined the cybersecurity team in May, and who appears likely to share his views on the proper direction of federal initiatives in this realm.

Post-midterm shuffle

As The Hill notes, a fair amount of administration turnover is routinely expected following the midterm election cycle, and though the Biden administration has been comparatively stable in terms of low turnover of high-profile staff, some changes in addition to Inglis' departure are anticipated.

Specifically, according to the outlet, National Economic Council director Brian Deese is likely to depart the administration in the months to come, and Council of Economic Advisers chair Cecilia Rouse is expected to leave in the spring.

Whether any other noteworthy names inside the White House are eyeing the exits for a 2023 departure, only time will tell.