HomeTRAILBLAZERS 23Harry Coker, Jr.

Harry Coker, Jr.

Former Executive Director of the National Security Agency

With the monumental task of executing and refining the National Cybersecurity Strategy on the line, the security community hotly anticipated the nomination of a new National Cyber Director after the post was vacated in February. In late July, a name well-known to the community was nominated to fill this critical role. Harry Coker Jr., a retired CIA senior executive and career Naval Officer, most recently completed a joint duty assignment as the executive director of the National Security Agency. As the third in command of the largest component of the U.S. Intelligence Community, he directly supported NSA’s director and deputy director in the strategic and day-to-day leadership of the agency. Coker’s service to the nation and NSA was recognized with the awarding of the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the NSA Director’s Distinguished Service Medal, and the IC EEOD Outstanding Leadership Award. During the first 17 years of his service with the CIA, Coker was assigned to leadership positions in the Directorate of Digital Innovation, the Directorate of Science & Technology, and the Director’s Area. Key assignments included service as director of the Open Source Enterprise, which is responsible for leveraging publicly available information, and as deputy director of CIA’s Office of Public Affairs. Coker was also a member of the small, hand-selected team of senior officers that architected the agency’s organizational construct and operating model. He also had a key role in formulating and executing the Diversity in Leadership Study, and served on the Executive Diversity & Inclusion Council. Coker’s leadership and contributions earned him the Presidential Rank Award and CIA’s prestigious Don Cryer Award for Diversity & Inclusion. Cyberspace Solarium Commission co-chairs Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) quickly said after the nomination was revealed that they “strongly support the decision to select Harry Coker, as we see him as being a natural choice for this position.”

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