Since its establishment in 2021, the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) has been rapidly staffing up toward its planned workforce of about 75 full-time positions as the end of Fiscal Year 2022 nears.

ONCD this week provided a who’s who of some of the office’s major appointments as the organization “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,” National Cyber Director (NCD) Chris Inglis said in a press release.

“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,” said Principal Deputy National Cyber Director (PDNCD) Kemba Walden.

Here’s a look at some the major players in the office:

Recent Appointees to the ONCD 

Jennifer Berlin joined ONCD as the assistant NCD for stakeholder engagement. Previously she served as the deputy chief of staff to the deputy secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD). Before that Berlin held several senior positions in the Obama Administration and on Capitol Hill.

Caroline Chang has been appointed senior advisor to the director and executive secretary at the ONCD. She brought her extensive expertise in emerging technology and its associated risks from her time working at the Albright Stonebridge Group.

Drenan Dudley joined ONCD as the assistant NCD for Budget Review and Assessment. She previously served as professional staff to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, where she was responsible for appropriations and oversight of Homeland Security programs.

Jose Fontanez was appointed special assistant to the director. Most recently, Fontanez served as the director of scheduling and intern coordinator in the Washington, D.C. office of Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif.

Benjamin Haas joined the ONCD as principal senior advisor to the NCD. Previously, Haas worked on the Biden-Harris transition, where he managed and advised on the national security and foreign policy portfolio.

Jim Halpert – a long-time cybersecurity and privacy lawyer – has been appointed general council. Before joining ONCD, Halpert spent his time advising dozens of clients on their cybersecurity programs and counseled clients through more than 700 security incidents.

Harry Krejsa, now serving as the assistant NCD for Strategy and Research, joined ONCD from the DoD, where he developed frameworks for deterring and disrupting adversary cyber campaigns while overseeing military cyber policy engagement in the Indo-Pacific.

Lorand Laskai was appointed deputy assistant NCD for Strategy and Research. He brought to ONCD extensive experience working on issues at the intersection of China and emerging technology.

Nicholas Leiserson recent was appointed the assistant NCD for Cyber Policy and Programs. Previously Leiserson served as ONCD’s deputy chief of staff.

Elliott Phaup joined ONCD from Capitol Hill, where he was a Senior Advisor in the Office of Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md. Phaup now serves as the legislative affairs advisor for the ONCD.

Haley Ring was appointed to serve as special assistant to the PDNCD. Previously Ring served at the DoD as a special assistant to the White House Liaison.

Stephen Viña was appointed assistant NCD for Legislative Affairs. Before joining ONCD, Viña helped organizations manage cyber risks and recover financial losses after cyber incidents. He also spent nearly fifteen years on Capitol Hill advising members of Congress on national security.

Previous Appointments to the ONCD

Michael C. Hochman joined the ONCD as deputy general counsel and deputy chief of staff. In those positions, Hochman will oversee executing directives from the executive branch at the ONCD office.

Faith Lowe was hired as the new deputy assistant NCD for Stakeholder Engagement at ONCD. She was formerly the deputy White House liaison at the Office of the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.

Xavier Ortega also joined ONCD as a special assistant to the deputy NCD for Strategy and Budget.

ONCD appointed Hannah Suh as a special advisor to support director Inglis in advising the President on cybersecurity policy, strategy, and engagement with industry and international stakeholders.

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