The PIDB consists of nine members, five appointed by the President, and one each by the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House, and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate. The PIDB’s founding statute requires the appointment of U.S. citizens who are preeminent in the fields of history, national security, foreign policy, intelligence policy, social science, law, or archives.
On January 11, 2021, President Donald J. Trump appointed Ezra Cohen to a three-year term on the PIDB and designated him to serve as Chair for a two-year term that ended on January 10, 2023. Speaker Mike Johnson appointed Mr. Cohen to a second three-term from January 11, 2024, to January 10, 2027. Prior to his appointment to the PIDB, Mr. Cohen served in senior leadership positions at the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community, most recently as the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security and Director for Defense Intelligence, Office of the Director of National Intelligence from November 2020 to January 2021. In this role, he exercised authority, direction, and control over the Defense Intelligence Enterprise and Combat Support Agencies. Additionally, he served as the principal civilian intelligence advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all military intelligence-related matters, including signals intelligence, human intelligence, sensitive activities, geospatial intelligence, sensitive reconnaissance, counterintelligence, law enforcement, and security. His previous government positions include Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC); Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for SO/LIC; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counter-Narcotics and Global Threats; Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs on the National Security Council; Deputy Defense Intelligence Officer for South Asia at the Defense Intelligence Agency; and as a DoD Operations Officer. Mr. Cohen began his government service as an intern researching 1820’s tariff legislation in the Center for Legislative Archives, a part of the National Archives and Record Administration. Mr. Cohen has also worked in the private sector for Oracle Corporation. Mr. Cohen received a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
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