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NSA's Anne Neuberger lands key Biden administration cybersecurity role

New team will "prepare for and respond to the full spectrum of threats"

The National Security Agency's Anne Neuberger has been appointed to a key cybersecurity role by the incoming Joe Biden administration, in a move that drew warm commendation from security and intelligence professionals, including the former head of GCHQ.

Neuberger, 44, will take on the newly created position of deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology. The role was created amid an ongoing investigation into the SolarWinds attack, believed to have been conducted by a Russian APT, which compromised up to 10 Federal agencies, US intelligence recently confirmed.

Anne Neuberger has been NSA Director, Cybersecurity Directorate since early 2019. A multilingual 11-year NSA veteran, she was raised in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn by ultra-Orthodox parents who had fled Communist Hungary, and at the age of 31 was the first woman to serve as a special assistant to the secretary of defense, where she was tasked in reducing deaths from IED impact on armoured vehicles in Iraq.

(Israel's Ynet has a longer interview from 2015, in which she also reveals that her parents were on the 1976 Air France flight that was hijacked by Palestinian and German militants, resulting in Operation Entebbe).

Her appointment was welcomed by Robert Hannigan, the former GCHQ director. Hannigan (now executive chairman of security firm BlueVoyant) said: "Good to see the Biden Administration giving cyber security priority and restoring to the WhiteHouse strategic leadership in this critical area. A huge agenda but Anne is a great choice for the role - deeply knowledgeable on cyber both for government and industry and a pleasure to work with. I wish her well - we will all benefit from a new US focus on cyber."

The Biden team also selected Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, who previously served as deputy secretary of the Department of Energy under President Obama, as deputy national security adviser and homeland security adviser. Russ Travers, former acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), will 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 shared by his transition team on Wednesday.

See also: NIS 2: Winds of change blowing as Europe sharply tightens up cybersecurity requirements.