White House considers ending dual NSA, Cyber Command leadership
- By Frank Konkel
- Nov 07, 2013
After Gen. Keith Alexander retires in 2014, the leadership of the NSA and the U.S. Cyber Command could be divided between two people. (File photo)
White House officials are considering splitting the responsibilities of the National Security Agency director and head of U.S. Cyber Command, currently a joint position held by Army Gen. Keith Alexander, according to a Washington Post report.
The report, which cites anonymous sources, claims National Security Council officials will soon meet to discuss whether to separate the two positions in an effort to reduce the concentration of power in one individual.
Alexander has announced that he will retire next spring. He has led the NSA since 2005 and has headed Cyber Command since its inception in 2009. Officials are also discussing whether the NSA should be led by a civilian.
The potential split comes following revelations leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden detailing the NSA's expansive surveillance operations, generating significant debate in the public and Congress. Administration officials say that a final decision on whether to split the position has not been made yet, and the White House continues to solicit views from high-ranking officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
"The political side says, 'We've got to make a big change,' " a U.S. official familiar with aspects of the deliberations told the Post. "You can't take all this heat you've been taking and not do something."
Frank Konkel is a staff writer covering big data, mobile, open government and a range of science/technology issues. Connect with him on Twitter at @Frank_Konkel.