President Obama picked top cyber expert Vice Admiral Mike Rogers as director of the National Security Agency on Thursday, reports The New York Times. This choice recognizes the cyber war that the President has discussed in previous reviews of the NSA and his advisory panel's recommendations.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he has designated Vice Adm. Mike Rogers as the new head of the NSA, and that the president has nominated Rogers to be the new head of U.S. Cyber Command. The NSA falls under the aegis of the Defense Department and as such Hagel can make Rogers’ appointment without congressional involvement. But the Senate must confirm Rogers to run CyberCom, a combatant command which means he’ll get a hearing.
‘I am pleased that President Obama has accepted my recommendation to nominate Vice Admiral Michael Rogers as commander of U.S. Cyber Command,’ Hagel said in a statement. ‘And I am delighted to designate him also as director of the National Security Agency. This is a critical time for the NSA, and Vice Adm. Rogers would bring extraordinary and unique qualifications to this position as the agency continues its vital mission and implements President Obama’s reforms.’
It is by law that the four-year old Pentagon’s cyberwarfare organization must be headed by a military officer. A few weeks ago President Obama rejected his advisory’s panel suggestion to seek a civilian for the post.
The result is that Admiral Rogers, now the head of Fleet Cyber Command, the Navy’s fast-growing cyberunit which will be a focus at Roger’s hearing in a couple of weeks.
Criticism from Silicon Valley, libertarians, foreign allies and ACLU lawsuit have kept the NSA spying front and center after the release of secret NSA files stolen last May by Edward J. Snowden, former NSA contractor.
‘Mike’s now flying right into the hornet’s nest of the stuff the president didn’t decide,’ said one senior adviser to the president. ‘And it’s all going to play out in public.’
Hagel has also appointed the NSA’s chief operating officer, Rick Ledgett, as its new deputy director to replace the outgoing Gen. Keith Alexander.
It was Mr. Ledgett who made headlines a few weeks ago , when in an interview with CBS News program ‘60 Minutes,’ he said, ‘it’s worth having a conversation’ about giving Mr. Snowden amnesty from prosecution in return for a full accounting of what he took from the N.S.A.’s Hawaii office, and where the remaining, unpublished, data is.
It was immediately dismissed by the White House but Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said recently that he would be open to talking about some kind of deal for Mr. Snowden if he returned from Russia.
Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who has served as NSA director for nearly nine years and was the first to direct both the civilian spy agency and the Cyber Command, announced last year his plan to retire in March this year. The NSA was started under President Harry Truman.
Rogers, who today runs the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command, oversees a total force of approximately 15,000 sailors and civilians - plus contractors- of which about 5,000 are specifically charged with giving the Navy the same kind of reach and flexibility in cyberspace that it has at sea.
He began in 1986 specializing in cryptology, and trained in both electronic and information warfare. A number of assignments to various warships and carrier strike groups followed, taking him to United States and NATO missions in the Balkans and in Afghanistan.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper has released this morning a statement congratulating President Barack Obama’s nomination of Navy Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers to be the next commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service.
Please, view the articles listed below in Author's suggestions to see more about the NSA, Cyber security and Obama's speech on NSA. The video atop this article introduces Vice Adm. Rogers.