Vice-Admiral Michael Rogers nominated by President Obama to take NSA role
The US government has announced that Vice-admiral Michael Rogers is to be appointed as the new head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and head of the US military cyber command.
Vice-Admiral Rogers, currently the commander of the US Navy Fleet Cyber Command, has been nominated to the post by President Obama, according to US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who cited his “extraordinary and unique qualifications.”
In a statement, Hagel went on to say that he was confident that Rogers has, “the wisdom to help balance the demands of security, privacy, and liberty in our digital age.”
Rogers will replace current director General Keith Alexander, whose had led the division for nine years, but his position has come under major scrutiny recently following the myriad of revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden, with one of Rogers’ first major tasks being the implementation of a series of reforms ordered by President Obama in the wake of the revelations.
Battening down the hatches
Rogers has a background in cryptology, but also has significant experience in electronic espionage, having served as the director for intelligence for both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the US Pacific Command. He will be based at Fort Meade in Maryland, where the Navy’s cybersecurity command provider, Tenth Fleet, is located.
He takes over the lead of both positions following President Obama’s decision not to split the two jobs, as had been recommended by an expert panel appointed in the wake of the Snowden revelations.
Working alongside Rogers will be Richard Leggett, previously the head of the NSA’s investigation into Edward Snowden, who will become the NSA’s new deputy director and top civilian leader. Mr Leggett’s appointment is slightly more controversial, as he had mooted the possibility of an amnesty for the whistleblower, who is currently on the run in Russia.
Among the most recent information leaked by Mr Snowden is the news that the NSA indiscriminately collects around 200 million text messages from around the world, with its database available to GCHQ in Britain. It was also revealed that the NSA is building a quantum computer that has the potential to break all popular cryptographic algorithms, as well as create completely new types of encryption.
Following the outcry surrounding the Snowden leaks, President Obama has said that there will be changes to the NSA’s surveillance practices, promising that access to the huge quantities of communications data collected by the US intelligence agencies will be restricted and civil liberties will be respected.
Despite the President’s recommendation, Vice-Admiral Rogers’ appointment will still need to be confirmed by the US Senate, as he needs to be promoted to full admiral in order to take over the military cyber command.
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