National Security

Obama taps vice admiral to lead NSA

A sign outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.
A sign outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Barack Obama will nominate Vice Admiral Michael Rogers to be the new director of the National Security Agency and the commander of the new Pentagon unit that directs the country’s offensive cyberoperations.

The announcement comes just after Obama announced that he will implement changes to the nation's vast surveillance programs.

"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 said in a statement Thursday.

In recent weeks, Obama has said he will rein in a contentious federal program that collects millions of Americans’ phone records, halt spying on dozens of foreign leaders, appoint a team of advocates to sometimes appear before the nation’s secret surveillance court – which now hears arguments only from the government – and release more classified documents.

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

Rogers will succeed General Keith Alexander, who has served as NSA director for nearly nine years and was the first person to lead both the civilian spy agency and its military partner, the U.S. Cyber Command.

Rogers, a trained cryptologist, has a three-decade Navy career and was most recently commander of the Navy's 10th Fleet and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.

His nomination will have to be confirmed by the Senate.