Cybersummit 2021 Session Day 4: Congressional Cybersecurity Priorities

Congressional Cybersecurity Priorities. Session Participants: Brandon Wales, CISA; Moira Bergin, US House of Representatives; Bob Joachim, US House of Representatives; Liam McKenna, US Senate


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About the Speakers

Moderator: Brandon Wales, Executive Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Brandon Wales is the 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.

Moira Bergin, Staff Director (Majority); Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Subcommittee; House Committee on Homeland Security, US House of Representatives

Moira Bergin serves as Subcommittee Director for the Subcommittee Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation at the House Committee on Homeland Security. Moira advises Members on policies related to cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, cyber threat information-sharing, supply chain risk management, and election security. Prior to joining the Committee, Moira served as law clerk at the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and as Senior Legislative Assistant to Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter of New York. Ms. Bergin earned her Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law in May 2010, and is licensed to practice law in Maryland and New York. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2003.

Bob Joachim, Staff Analyst (Majority); Homeland Security Subcommittee; House Appropriations Committee, US House of Representatives 

Bob Joachim is the Majority staff analyst on the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee who oversees the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accounts. Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Budget Director for the Department of Homeland Security, and was the acting Budget Director for US Customs and Border Protection before that. Mr. Joachim has served in the federal government for about sixteen years. He got his Juris Doctor and Masters in Public Administration at the University of South Dakota, as well as his Bachelor of Science Degree in Math and Criminal Justice.

Liam McKenna, Chief Investigator (Minority); United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, US Senate

Liam McKenna is Chief Investigator & Counsel for Ranking Member Portman on the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), where he leads Sen. Portman's cyber and investigative teams. He has nearly a decade of experience in investigations and policy in the national security space, including cybersecurity, infrastructure protection, intelligence, and defense, having played a significant role on several security-related investigations that have garnered national media attention and numerous federal cybersecurity bills—the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, and the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 to name a few. He previously served as General Counsel and Senior Counsel for cybersecurity on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) and Chief Counsel for Homeland Security on HSGAC. Before law school he was a criminal investigator in New Orleans and a lifetime ago he worked in IT and had the Cisco Certified Networking Associate and CompTIA A+ trainings under his belt.

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