The Pentagon announced on Thursday that Navy Vice Admiral Michael Rogers will be named by President Obama as the next head of the National Security Agency. Rogers, who takes over the helm of the NSA at a time when the scope and appropriateness of its electronic collection activities have been hotly debated, will replace Keith Alexander, who is retiring from the agency that he led for nearly nine years.
Rogers, who had been considered a leading candidate for the job, the New York Times reports “is a cryptologist by training, who has quietly risen to the top of naval intelligence operations.” Rogers, like Alexander before him, will also take the reigns as the head of the four-year-old Cyber Command, despite the recommendation to split the jobs by Obama’s presidential panel on the NSA. The proposed separation of the two roles, the Times reports, would have “separated the civilian surveillance and code-breaking tasks from the development of cyberweapons and the defense of military networks.” Obama rejected the proposal concluding that the functions of surveillance and cyberwar were too interrelated to be divided, according to the Times.
Rogers, a 30-year Navy veteran, who runs the Navy’s cyber-warfare division, will need to be confirmed by the Senate, which could be a messy process, given the roiling, increasingly public, debate on the agency’s data collection and civil liberties.