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Obama To Nominate Vice Adm. Michael Rogers As NSA Chief

Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers
U.S. Navy
Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers

President Obama has decided to nominate Vice. Adm. Michael Rogers, the current head of U.S. Cyber Command, as the next director of the National Security Agency, The New York Times, Reuters and CNN are reporting.

The Times reports:

"Admiral Rogers, a cryptologist by training who has quietly risen to the top of naval intelligence operations, will become the public face of the N.S.A. at a moment that it is caught in the cross hairs of the roiling debate about whether its collection of information about American citizens and foreign leaders has exceeded legal constraints, and common sense."

Rogers will succeed Gen. Keith Alexander, who has been at the helm of the spy agency for close to nine years.

The Washington Post, which first reported Obama's intention to nominate Rogers, reports that the president took the unusual step of personally interviewing Rogers for the post.

The Post adds:

"Rogers, whose Navy career spans more than 30 years, is 'uniquely qualified' to take on the job, said Terry Roberts, a former Naval intelligence official who worked with Rogers when he served as a special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and JCS director of intelligence. She cited his background in intelligence and his experience heading Fleet Cyber Command, the Navy's cyber unit that also works for U.S. Cyber Command.

"Rogers understands signals intelligence and cyberattack operations, as well as the intelligence needs for the military and civilian agencies, she said. He 'is the kind of leader who will embrace the challenge of defining the optimal balance for the NSA between security, privacy and freedom in the digital age,' Roberts said."

According to his official biography, Rogers graduated from the National War College.

"Originally a surface warfare officer (SWO), he was selected for re-designation to cryptology (now Information Warfare) in 1986," his biography reads.

The Times reports Rogers was also tapped as the head of "the new Pentagon unit that directs the country's offensive cyberoperations."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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