Who is Brandon Wales of CISA? Let’s explore the first Executive Director’s career in the wake of Trump’s firing of CISA Director Chris Krebs.
After the results of the US presidential elections were announced, Donald Trump tweeted that Joe Biden only “won because the Election was Rigged.”
The president’s tweets about voter fraud were accompanied by the launch of a string of lawsuits alleging that Republican poll watchers were denied access to observe the counting of ballots in a number of key battleground states.
However, the BBC notes that most of these lawsuits have already been dismissed for lack of evidence.
Election officials have also debunked Trump’s claims of unconstitutional election results, with the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency (CISA) releasing the following statement:
“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised. All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary. This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors.”
In the wake of the statement, Trump promptly fired CISA Director Chris Krebs.
Since the firing, speculation has surrounded Brandon Wales, who is likely to become the next CISA Director.
CISA: Who is Brandon Wales?
- Brandon Wales is the first Executive Director of CISA and serves as the senior career executive overseeing execution of the Director and Deputy Director’s vision for CISA operations and mission support.
According to the CISA website, Wales’s responsibilities include leading long-term strategy development, ensuring effective operational collaboration across the agency and managing CISA-wide policy initiatives.
Reflecting on his educational background, Wales earned a Bachelor’s degree from George Washington University, along with a Master’s from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Between August 2017 and December 2019, he served in numerous roles within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary’s office.
He began as Senior Counsellor to the Secretary for Cyber and Resilience and in January 2019 he was requested to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff (Acting), developing and advancing the Department’s strategic priorities.
Later that year, he tackled the role of Chief of Staff (Acting), which saw him aid the Secretary in overseeing the Department.
Prior to joining the Secretary’s office, Wales was 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.
Between 2009 and 2014, he was the Director of the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC). This involved him overseeing the department’s advanced modeling, simulation, and analysis program and leading a team of researchers in the process.
Wales has been celebrated for his government work with a number of accolades, including an Exceptional Performance Award from the Director of National Intelligence, a DHS Secretary’s Award for Excellence and a DHS Distinguished Service Medal.
Further back, however, it’s worth addressing that he served as a National Security Aide to Senator Jon Kyl and as a Senior Associate at a Washington-based foreign policy and national security think-tank; this was before Wales first joined the DHS in 2005.
Is Brandon Wales replacing Chris Krebs?
On Wednesday, November 18th, a Politico cybersecurity reporter – Eric Geller – tweeted the following: “Confirming @snlyngaas’ scoop: CISA Deputy Director Matthew Travis is leaving. The White House pressured him to resign after firing Krebs, others have reported. Brandon Wales, a career employee serving as CISA’s executive director, will be the agency’s acting director now.”
Similarly, Dustin Volz of The Wall Street Journal tweeted the following:
In other news, learn more about CISA Deputy Director Matthew Travis.