DHS’ cyber and infrastructure office gets new chief of staff

After sailing through his confirmation hearing to be under secretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate in the Homeland Security Department, Chris Krebs is starting to fill out his staff.

Krebs named Emily Early as his new chief of staff, taking over for David Hess, who was in that role for  the past six years, according to an email announcing the personnel changes obtained by Federal News Radio and confirmed by DHS.

Emily Early is the new chief of staff for DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate.

Krebs said Hess is moving to become the Federal Protective Service’s deputy director for policy, communications and intergovernmental affairs.

“Many of you know and have worked with Emily, who has extensive experience serving within the directorate and has been an invaluable member of the leadership team for some time,” Krebs wrote. “For the past year, Emily has served as the acting director of NPPD strategy, policy and plans, where she effectively managed a maturing organization and served as a trusted advisor to me on critical policy issues impacting our mission.”

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Hess also led NPPD during the presidential transition when he was the senior official performing the duties of the under secretary.

“David is a tremendous asset to our team and I am thrilled that he is taking on a new role within NPPD,” Krebs wrote. “Recognizing the evolving dynamics of FPS’s mission, funding model, intergovernmental relationships, and ultimate organizational disposition, Director [Eric] Patterson and I have created a new position within the FPS leadership team to help forge this new future for the service. In this capacity, David will bring to bear his already extensive experience supporting the FPS mission and will focus his efforts in working with the existing leadership team to drive the FPS policy and strategy agenda forward.”

Before becoming acting director of the strategy office, Early worked in a variety of positions in NPPD, including supporting the offices of Cybersecurity and Communications, Infrastructure Protection and Cyber, and Infrastructure Analysis.

“Emily’s in-depth knowledge of NPPD programs and her appreciation of our talented and diverse workforce will enable her to serve as an effective leader to advance NPPD’s cybersecurity and critical infrastructure mission,” Krebs said.

Early has been with DHS NPPD since 2001.

As chief of staff, one of Early’s biggest jobs this year likely will be rebranding NPPD as Congress is ramping up its plan to change the organization’s name to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Additionally, NPPD is launching a new cyber personnel system this year and is trying to accelerate its efforts to address things like supply chain and critical infrastructure protection.