The Biden Administration is continuing to build out its still-nascent Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) with three new senior additions to the team including a prominent executive from Microsoft and a former official from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

According to a May 10 White House announcement, ONCD has named Kemba Walden as first principal deputy director. Walden will join Neal Higgins and Rob Knake, who were named deputy national cyber directors.

“As we continue to build this new office, the additions of Kemba, Neal, and Rob will accelerate our efforts to protect Americans in cyberspace,” said National Cyber Director Chris Inglis.

Walden, who comes to ONCD from Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit where she served as an assistant general counsel, is not new to the public sector. She spent a decade in government service at the Department of Homeland Security and most recently served as a member of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Cyber Safety Review Board.

Higgins and Knake are also long-term public servants. Higgins most recently served as an associate deputy director for digital innovation at the CIA. Before joining the CIA, Higgins served in several senior staff roles in the United States Senate.

Before taking on his new role as deputy director, Knake was a senior fellow at think tanks including the Council on Foreign Relations and the Harvard Belfer Center. During the Obama Administration, he served in the cyber directorate at the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection & Programs Directorate, the predecessor organization to CISA.

“Each of these leaders brings impressive experience in cybersecurity policymaking to our team, and their diverse perspectives will be invaluable as we strengthen our collective defense,” Inglis said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.