Coker ascends as National Cyber Director, industry braces for SEC shift.

December 13, 2023
1 min read
  • Harry Coker Jr. has been confirmed as the new National Cyber Director by the U.S. Senate, filling the position left vacant by Chris Inglis’ departure in early 2023.
  • Coker’s appointment comes as businesses nationwide prepare to adhere to new cybersecurity incident reporting rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), due to go into effect on Dec. 18.

Harry Coker Jr. has been confirmed as the National Cyber Director by the U.S. Senate. The former executive director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) veteran will fill the role left vacant following the departure of Chris Inglis in February. This nomination marks Coker as the second director of the White House‚Äôs cyber office since its establishment in 2021. Prior to Coker’s appointment, Kemba Walden and Drenan Dudley led the office.

Cybersecurity professionals have welcomed the news of Coker’s confirmation, stating that the new leadership is essential during a crucial time for the cyber sector. Experts have emphasized the need for a coordinated cybersecurity policy across both public and private sector at all levels of government. This period has seen mounting geopolitical tension and rapid technological advancement, increasing the complexity of the security landscape.

The news of the confirmation comes as businesses across the country prepare for the upcoming securities and exchange commission (SEC) rules on cybersecurity incident reporting, set to be launched on Dec. 18. The reporting requirement had elicited debates concerning the possibility of premature reporting of uncontrolled incidents. There are also concerns around potentially duplicated or conflicting rules with the earlier Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (CIRCIA).

Coker intends to strengthen partnerships between the public and private sector to navigate these challenges effectively. In his statements to the Senate Homeland Committee in November, Coker emphasized the importance of cooperation and the goal to ensure a “true partnership” where the private sector’s knowledge, capabilities, and risks are “appreciated and supported.”

The new SEC reporting rules and Coker’s confirmation come with high implications for national cybersecurity strategy. The administration aims to implement the National Cybersecurity Strategy’s all 69 initiatives by Q4 2026. This strategy was published in March 2023 and emphasises bolstering crucial infrastructure security, enhancing public-private cybersecurity collaboration, and holding businesses more accountable for securing their systems and protecting consumer data.

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