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Obama greenlights next NSA/CyberCom chief

Michael Rogers

Vice Adm. Michael Rogers will replace Gen. Keith Alexander as National Security Agency director and commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

President Barack Obama has reportedly selected a successor for Gen. Keith Alexander, National Security Agency director and commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

Vice Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the Navy's Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet, will replace the embattled Alexander when he steps down in March. The longtime naval cryptologist, who has led the Navy's cyber component since September 2011, was widely predicted to be the one for the job.

According to the Washington Post, Obama himself recently interviewed Rogers. The change in leadership comes as the NSA remains under scrutiny nearly a year after leaked documentation revealed the agency's domestic spying activities.

In December Obama decided that NSA and CyberCom would remain connected under a single, dual-hatted military leader, rather than split the two organizations.

"Following a thorough interagency review, the administration has decided that keeping the positions of NSA Director and Cyber Command Commander together as one, dual-hatted position is the most effective approach to accomplishing both agencies' missions," White House national security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement last month.

According to Rogers' Navy bio, before taking the helm at the 10th Fleet he was the director for intelligence for both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Pacific Command.

That background makes Rogers well-versed in the worlds of policy, intelligence, cooperation and on-the-ground requirements in cyber warfare, which he talked about at the annual Sea-Air-Space conference in April 2013.

"If we think we're going to do cyber offense in the closet somewhere, we've totally missed the boat on this thing," Rogers said. "We need to be able to integrate the desired effects we're going to achieve into a commander's options and we need the commander to make the decision enlisting the best tools, with the authorities to do it."

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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