Brandon Wales is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) first Executive Director, serving as the senior career executive helping oversee execution of CISA operations. He is responsible for leading long-term strategy development, managing CISA-wide policy initiatives and ensuring effective operational collaboration across the Agency.
From November 17, 2020 though July 12, 2021, he was designated as the Acting Director of CISA. In this capacity, Wales oversaw CISA’s efforts to defend civilian networks, manage systemic risk to national critical functions, and work with stakeholders to raise the security baseline of the Nation’s cyber and physical infrastructure. During his tenure as the acting Director, he led the agency’s response to the SolarWinds Orion Supply Chain Attacks, Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities, the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, Pulse Connect Secure vulnerabilities, and the Kaseya VSA supply chain ransomware attack, among many others, while seeing the Agency through the final phase of the CISA 2020 Agency re-organization.
Prior to serving in his current capacity, Wales directly supported the Secretary of Homeland Security from August 2017 to December 2019. Beginning as the Senior Counselor to the Secretary for Cyber and Resilience, Wales was responsible for advising on cybersecurity, emergency management, incident response and building a more resilient nation. Following that assignment, he was asked to serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff (Acting), developing and advancing the Department’s strategic priorities. In June 2019, Wales assumed the role of Chief of Staff (Acting), assisting the Secretary in overseeing the Department, ensuring close coordination across its operational components and managing interagency relationships.
Wales’ experience within and understanding of the Department is both broad and deep. He served as the Director of the DHS Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (OCIA), which provided integrated analysis of cyber and physical risks to the Nation’s critical infrastructure.
From 2009-2014, Wales was the Director of the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC), an all-hazards analytic resource for public and private sector partners covering the full array of risks facing the infrastructure community. In this capacity, he oversaw the Department’s advanced modeling, simulation, and analysis program, leading a team of researchers conducting ground-breaking and forward-leaning analysis of some of the Nation’s most complex infrastructure challenges.
Wales has been called upon to support a variety of Department-wide initiatives. When the Department began working on the first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review in 2009, Wales was asked to lead the review of the counterterrorism and cyber security mission areas. Following the 2013 release of Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, Wales led the effort to identify critical infrastructure at potential catastrophic risk from cybersecurity incidents.
Wales’ contributions have been recognized with an Exceptional Performance Award from the Director of National Intelligence, a DHS Secretary’s Award for Excellence, and two DHS Distinguished Service Medals, the Department’s highest civilian award.
Before joining the Department in 2005, Wales was the national security aide to United States Senator Jon Kyl and a Senior Associate at a Washington-based foreign policy and national security think-tank.
Wales received his Bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and his Master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.