The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) was established by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, as well as President Joe Biden’s nomination and the Senate’s confirmation of Chris Inglis as the inaugural National Cyber Director. Since ONCD’s establishment, the Biden-Harris Administration has appointed key members to serve on ONCD’s team. They have joined other previously announced members of the ONCD leadership team and non-political staff in support of the organization’s mission to strengthen our Nation’s cybersecurity.
“These appointees have brought deep expertise, valuable skills, and crucial diversity to the White House as ONCD works alongside the National Security Council and other partners across the government to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities for securing the Nation’s cyberspace,” said National Cyber Director (NCD) Chris Inglis. “As ONCD heads into its second year, I am inspired by and grateful for the commitment that these appointees bring to our team as we work together to ensure that all Americans can thrive in our increasingly interconnected society,” added Principal Deputy National Cyber Director (PDNCD) Kemba Walden.
More on these appointees:
Jen Berlin, Assistant NCD for Stakeholder Engagement: Jennifer Berlin joined ONCD from the Department of Defense, where she served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary. She previously served as Vice President of Strategy and Operations at the Brookings Institution and held a number of senior positions in the Obama Administration and on Capitol Hill, including as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Acting Director of Public Affairs at the Commerce Department, Press Secretary for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Deputy Press Secretary to Senator Jack Reed. She also worked in the Public Sector Practice of McKinsey & Company and at the Council on Foreign Relations. Jen received a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Strategic Studies from the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Caroline Chang, Senior Advisor to the NCD and Executive Secretary: Caroline Chang joined ONCD, bringing with her significant expertise on emerging tech and trades issues related to East Asia. Prior to joining ONCD, Caroline held various roles at Albright Stonebridge Group under the Managing Principal, responsible for business development, client management, and political and business risk advisory regarding emerging technologies such as renewable energy, autonomous vehicles, and other tech-adjacent sectors in China, South Korea, and Japan. Caroline has also held positions at the U.S. Department of State, serving in the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang, China and in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs in Washington, DC. Caroline holds a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and Chinese language and literature from the University of Notre Dame and Master’s Degree from the University of Oxford. Caroline is fluent in Korean and has a working professional proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.
Drenan Dudley, Assistant NCD for Budget Review and Assessment: Drenan Dudley joined ONCD after having previously served as professional staff to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, where she had appropriations and oversight responsibilities for Department of Homeland Security programs and supplemental appropriations to respond to emergencies and disasters in the United States. Federal agencies in her portfolio included, among others, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Secret Service, Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, and Federal Protective Service. Prior to serving on the Appropriations Committee, Drenan was the Director of Projects and Grants for Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina, where she worked with State and local government, schools, public safety organizations, medical services, non-profit organizations, small businesses, and corporations. Drenan earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in budget, finance, and local government from the University of Georgia and an undergraduate degree in English and Political Science from the University of South Carolina.
Jose Fontanez, Special Assistant to the NCD: Jose Fontanez joined ONCD after serving as the Director of Scheduling and intern coordinator in the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Lou Correa of California. Jose graduated from The Catholic University of America in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science. He has served in various congressional offices, including for then- Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Upon graduation, Jose joined the Biden’s campaign as a volunteer in their Philadelphia HQ before becoming a Regional Get out the Vote (GOTV) Director for Pennsylvania.
Benjamin Haas, Principal Senior Advisor to the NCD: Ben Haas joined ONCD after serving at the State Department as Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Previously, he worked on the Biden-Harris transition, where he managed and advised on the national security and foreign policy portfolio for Cabinet and select sub-Cabinet nominations. Earlier, he worked as Advocacy Counsel at Human Rights First, was an Associate at Covington & Burling, and served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. His military service included two deployments to Afghanistan. Ben is a graduate of Stanford Law School and West Point, and he is a Council on Foreign Relations term member and a member of the Truman National Security Project.
Jim Halpert, General Counsel: Jim Halpert is a renowned cybersecurity and privacy lawyer. He joined ONCD from DLA Piper, where he built the firm’s cybersecurity practice, advised dozens of clients on their cybersecurity programs, and counseled clients through more than 700 security incidents. Jim helped draft almost all the state private, security and breach notice laws enacted over the past 15 years, the National Association of Corporate Directors Cyber Risk Handbook, and two major U.S. federal privacy laws. Jim is an honors graduate of Yale College, Harvard Law School, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
Michael Hochman, Deputy Chief of Staff and Deputy General Counsel: Michael Hochman joined ONCD after serving in the West Wing as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Staff Secretary in the White House Office of the Staff Secretary. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Staff Secretary, he was a member of the law firm Monzack Mersky Browder and Hochman, P.A. in Wilmington, Delaware. He is a litigator with extensive experience in both state and federal courts. Michael also served as a trial lawyer with the State of Delaware’s Office of the Public Defender. After law school, he clerked for the Delaware Court of Chancery. Michael is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Boston College Law School.
Harry Krejsa, Assistant NCD for Strategy and Research: Harry Krejsa joined ONCD from the Department of Defense, where he developed frameworks for deterring and disrupting adversary cyber campaigns while overseeing military cyber policy engagement in the Indo-Pacific. Previously, Harry directed emerging technology policy at the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, researched U.S.-China strategic competition as a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and received a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan. A native of rural Iowa, Harry graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in Political Science and East Asian Studies and holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
Lorand Laskai, Deputy Assistant NCD for Strategy and Research: Lorand Laskai joined ONCD, bringing with him extensive experience working on issues at the intersection of China and emerging technology. He most recently served as a policy lead on the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition. Prior to that, he edited a volume on U.S.-China technology interdependence and competition for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, researched competitiveness in AI as a Visiting Researcher at the Center on Security and Emerging Technology, and worked as a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is proficient in Mandarin and holds a B.A. Swarthmore College and J.D. from Yale Law School.
Nicholas Leiserson, Assistant NCD for Cyber Policy and Programs: Nicholas Leiserson previously served as ONCD’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to joining ONCD, Nicholas spent more than a decade on the staff of Congressman James R. Langevin, the principal author of the National Cyber Director Act, most recently as his Chief of Staff. A Connecticut native, Nicholas holds a degree in computer science from Brown University.
Faith Lowe, Deputy Assistant NCD for Stakeholder Engagement: Faith Lowe brings experience as a former Deputy White House Liaison supporting the political appointment process for the Department of Homeland Security. Faith also served on the National Security Council supporting Operation Allies Welcome, the President’s initiative to ensure resettlement of Afghan allies in America. While working in politics in Florida, she gained wide-ranging experience from electoral campaigns and issue advocacy to civic participation. She also proudly served as the Chief of Staff for the state of Florida on the Biden-Harris Presidential campaign. A native of Orlando, Florida, Faith is a barred attorney and a two-time graduate of Florida A&M University.
Xavier Ortega, Special Assistant to the Deputy NCD for Strategy and Budget: Xavier Ortega joined ONCD from the world of electoral organizing in Central Florida. He is a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida, where he majored in Political Science and minored in National Security and Intelligence. Prior to moving to D.C., he served as a research intern with the United Nations Association, where he focused on issues regarding sustainability and disinformation.
Elliott Phaup, Legislative Affairs Advisor: Elliott Phaup joined ONCD from Capitol Hill, where he was a Senior Advisor in the Office of Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-02). He handled policy issues related to national security, cybersecurity, technology, telecommunications, and the intelligence community. Elliott served as principal advisor to the Congressman in his role as a senior member of both the Defense and Homeland Security Subcommittees on Appropriations. Elliott also coordinated all matters related to the Congressman’s role as Chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors. Elliott received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland and has a Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.
Gevin Reynolds, Special Advisor to the NCD: Gevin Reynolds joined ONCD from the White House Office of Management and Administration, where he served as an Associate Director. In that role, he led strategic projects and managed a number of processes vital to the day-to-day running of the White House. Prior to joining the Administration, he spent two years working on the National Football League’s labor finance and public policy teams. A native of Atlanta, Gevin holds a B.A. in Neurobiology from Harvard, where he was a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar.
Haley Ring, Special Assistant to the PDNCD: Haley Ring joined ONCD from the Department of Defense, where she served as the Special Assistant to the White House Liaison. In that role, she helped recruit, hire, and manage the portfolio of over 200 political appointees and stood up the Biden-Harris Administration at the Department of Defense. While at the Department of Defense, she served as an External Affairs Officer for Operation Allies Welcome, assisting with the Afghan resettlement effort. In addition, Haley worked on the Biden for President Campaign as one of the first 50 staffers, and organized voter efforts in Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Afterwards, Haley assisted the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Haley is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she obtained a B.A. in Economics.
Hannah Suh, Special Advisor to the NCD: Hannah Suh is a foreign policy expert in East Asian regional security and U.S.-China strategic competition. Prior to joining ONCD, Hannah served as the Chief of Staff for the Center for a New American Security, responsible for managing the operations and administration of the enterprise and executing the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors program and policy priorities. Hannah has held national security and foreign policy positions in Congress on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and strategy positions with the Department of Defense under U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Hannah is passionate about mentoring and developing diverse talent in the national security and foreign policy fields, having served as the Director of the Shawn Brimley Next Generation National Security Fellows Program. Hannah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies from American University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Stephen Viña, Assistant NCD for Legislative Affairs: Stephen Viña joined ONCD from Marsh, where he served as a Senior Vice President, cyber insurance broker, and claims specialist. In this role, Stephen helped organizations manage cyber risks and recover financial losses after a cyber incident. Prior to joining Marsh, Stephen spent nearly fifteen years on Capitol Hill advising Members of Congress on national security. Stephen has held senior staff positions in both the House and Senate, including serving as Chief Counsel for Homeland Security on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and as Subcommittee Staff Director on the House Committee on Homeland Security. Stephen began his professional career as a Legislative Attorney at the Congressional Research Service, where he focused on homeland security matters. Stephen has served as an Adjunct Professor for Cybersecurity Governance at American University in Washington, D.C., holds a law degree from now Texas A&M University School of Law, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US).