U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols/Released

Obama to Nominate Navy Admiral as NSA Director

President Barack Obama will nominate Navy Vice Adm. Michael Rogers as head of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Rogers, who currently serves as commander of U.S. Cyber Fleet Command, was long rumored to be the president’s choice to replace Army Gen. Keith Alexander. The announcement also cements Obama’s decision not to separate the two posts.

Alexander is stepping down after taking heat over the Edward Snowden leaks about the government’s far-reaching surveillance programs. Alexander served as the NSA director since 2005, and the Cyber Command commander since 2010.

“I am pleased that President Obama has accepted my recommendation to nominate Vice Admiral Michael Rogers as commander of U.S. Cyber Command. And I am delighted to designate him also as Director of the National Security Agency,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement. 

“This is a critical time for the NSA, and Vice Admiral Rogers would bring extraordinary and unique qualifications to this position as the agency continues its vital mission and implements President Obama’s reforms,” Hagel said. “As commander of the Navy’s 10th Fleet and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, he has already demonstrated his leadership and deep expertise in this critical domain.  I am also confident that Admiral Rogers has the wisdom to help balance the demands of security, privacy, and liberty in our digital age.”

Rogers is a trained cryptologist with 30 years of service in the Navy.

Hagel also announced that Richard Ledgett, the NSA’s chief operating officer, has been selected to serve as the NSA deputy director.