US Admiral Michael Rogers named new NSA chief

Summary:An admiral with a background in cryptology, signals intelligence, and cyberwarfare has been nominated by the US president to become chief of the NSA and the US military's cyberwarfare command.

President Barack Obama has nominated a US Navy officer, Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, to take over as head of the embattled US National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon has said.

"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," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who recommended Rogers for the post, said in a statement on Thursday.

If confirmed by lawmakers, Rogers would also take over as head of the military's cyberwarfare command.

Rogers, 53, would take the helm at a difficult moment for the spy agency, which is under unprecedented pressure after leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the NSA's electronic spying.

In response to the furore triggered by the leaks, Obama proposed reforms to rein in the NSA's spying authority in some areas.

Hagel said he is "confident that Admiral Rogers has the wisdom to help balance the demands of security, privacy, and liberty in our digital age".

Rogers, who trained as an intelligence cryptologist, would succeed General Keith Alexander, who has served in the top job since 2005.

He currently heads the US Fleet Cyber Command, overseeing the navy's cyberwarfare specialists.

In more than 30 years in the Navy, Rogers has worked in cryptology, signals intelligence, and cyberwarfare.

Like Alexander, the naval officer would not only run the powerful NSA, but would also serve as chief of the US military's Cyber Command.

Obama has decided to keep the "dual-hatted" arrangement, even though some top officials recommended splitting up the two jobs.

The president has also rejected suggestions to name a civilian as NSA director.

This week, the NSA appointed its first privacy officer , Rebecca Richards, who will take up the role next month.

Topics: Security, Government : US, Privacy

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