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After Joe Biden is sworn in as president, the new administration won’t have much time to settle in before starting on that cyber to-do list. Biden appointees discussed security issues during the first round of confirmation hearings. And get ready for "ambitious" spending on technology. This is CyberScoop for Wednesday, January 20.

The big cyber issues facing the Biden administration

The next American president has chosen a range of advisers, including nominees for the Department of Homeland Security and the CIA, who appear to view digital security as a key part of policymaking. They’ll certainly have their work cut out for them. When Joe Biden is sworn in today, his team immediately will need to reckon with challenges to internet security, including the SolarWinds espionage campaign, balancing defense with offense and curbing disruptive cyberattacks. Their success, or failure, could help determine the success of the administration. Sean Lyngaas breaks it down.

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Cabinet picks talk SolarWinds, intelligence in first hearings

President-Elect Joe Biden’s choices to take on key cabinet roles outlined their approaches to pressing cybersecurity issues facing the new administration in Senate confirmation hearings on Tuesday. Alejandro Mayorkas, nominee for the head of DHS, flatly told lawmakers that U.S. government’s defenses against hacking were incommensurate with the threats. Avril Hanes, Biden's pick for director of national intelligence, testified that she has not yet had a full classified briefing on the details of the SolarWinds. Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, the nominees for State and Defense, respectively, also testified Tuesday. The whole CyberScoop team was taking notes.

The list of personnel moves keeps growing

Michael Sulmeyer, a senior adviser to National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command leader Paul Nakasone, will serve as a senior director for cyber in the Biden White House. Longtime NSA hand Rob Joyce is ending his work as the special U.S. liaison officer in London, to serve as the head of the NSA's Cybersecurity Directorate. Those are two of the faces who will be helping shape the future of American policy in cyberspace. And they join an existing list of experienced professionals already named to other roles. More on that here.

Biden calls for 'most ambitious effort ever' for security, tech

President-elect Joe Biden will make federal IT modernization and cybersecurity top priorities during the early days of his administration — second only to COVID-19 response, it seems. In a fact sheet circulated Thursday ahead of Biden’s speech announcing his American Rescue Plan to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, his transition team declared that the administration “will provide emergency funding to upgrade federal information technology infrastructure and address the recent breaches of federal government data systems.” Billy Mitchell has more at FedScoop.

Virus relief package includes big bucks for state, local

The COVID-19 rescue package President-elect Joe Biden said he plans to introduce includes $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, which have pleaded for months that they need more federal assistance to overcome steep budget gaps created by the health crisis and its economic shutdowns. It's part of a broader $1.9 trillion package, which also includes money for extended unemployment insurance, vaccine distribution, school reopening plans, public transit, federal technology programs and an expansion of stimulus checks. StateScoop's Benjamin Freed has the details.

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