Cait Conley, an Army combat veteran with extensive cybersecurity and counterterrorism experience, has been appointed as one of the nation's top election security officials. The director of the U.S. Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Jen Easterly, announced Conley's appointment, highlighting her national security expertise and suitability for the role.
In her new position, Conley will work closely with federal, state, and local officials responsible for ensuring the security of elections leading up to the 2024 presidential election. Her role will involve coordination and support to officials at all levels of government across America.
Conley takes over from Kim Wyman, a former top election official in Washington state, who will be leaving the agency to join the private sector. Wyman joined CISA after the 2020 election, where the agency faced criticism from former President Donald Trump for disputing false claims about the vote. Trump subsequently fired then-CISA Director Chris Krebs.
During their tenure, Wyman and her predecessor Matt Masterson played significant roles in building up the agency's credibility and establishing trust among state and local officials, many of whom were initially skeptical of federal involvement in election security efforts.
As the 2024 election approaches, officials face multifaceted threats ranging from hostile foreign nations to ransomware gangs and other entities seeking to undermine U.S. elections through misinformation. Protecting voting systems while combating disinformation and maintaining public confidence in elections pose significant challenges.
Both Cait Conley and CISA Director Jen Easterly have extensive military backgrounds, having graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the Army. Prior to her appointment, Easterly held positions as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for counterterrorism. Conley previously served as a director for counterterrorism on the National Security Council and as the executive director of the bipartisan Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard University's Belfer Center.
Conley expressed enthusiasm for her new role and the opportunity to contribute to the important mission of election security. Her appointment reflects CISA's commitment to addressing the evolving threats facing U.S. elections and building upon the progress made in recent years.
In conclusion, Cait Conley's appointment as a top election security official brings her valuable national security experience to the critical task of ensuring secure elections ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Collaborating with federal, state, and local officials, she will work to protect voting systems and counter disinformation, playing a vital role in safeguarding the integrity of the democratic process.