The Senate confirmed President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber and infrastructure protection unit on Tuesday evening.
The Senate confirmed Christopher Krebs in a voice vote Tuesday to serve at the helm of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, or NPPD, roughly four months after Trump nominated him to the post.
In the role, Krebs will be responsible for overseeing the security of federal civilian networks and spearheading the federal government’s efforts to protect critical infrastructure from cyber and physical threats. NPPD is also newly responsible for helping states secure their digital voting systems, in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Krebs has been performing the role of undersecretary at NPPD in an acting capacity since last summer, and was officially nominated to the post by Trump in February.
“It’s an incredible honor to be confirmed as the Under Secretary; it represents the confidence that the Senate, the President, and the Secretary [Kirstjen Nielsen] have in me to do this important job,” Krebs said in a statement. “I’m excited to drop the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary title and officially lead the NPPD team in advancing the cybersecurity and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure.”
He said that his top legislative priority will be pressing Congress to pass legislation that would rename and reorganize NPPD – a bill that has passed the House but recently encountered a hang-up in the Senate.
“I will continue to work with Congress to pass this important legislation,” Krebs said.
Krebs’ nomination was not particularly controversial, and he has earnedpraise from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for his past experience in homeland security in the Bush administration and his work on Microsoft’s government affairs team.
However, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) briefly blocked Krebs’ nomination in an effort to press Homeland Security to release more information about threats from devices known colloquially as “Stingrays” – mobile phone surveillance technology that the department recently detected evidence of in the D.C. area. Homeland Security has since provided the Democratic senator with more information on the activity.