Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

U.S. may split command of spy and cyber agencies

Nov. 7, 2013 - 11:59AM   |  
  • Filed Under

WASHINGTON — The White House is considering a proposal to split the work of the single military commander who now oversees both the National Security Agency and cybersecurity operations, presenting an opportunity to reshape the spy agency in the wake of harsh criticism of its sweeping surveillance programs.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander is top officer at both the U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA, and he’s retiring next spring.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Thursday that no final decision has been made about how to handle the commands after Alexander leaves, but it’s a “natural point” to consider a change.

The consideration of a split, first reported Thursday in The Washington Post, comes in the wake of revelations about the agency’s widespread monitoring of telephone, email and social-media data from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The concentration of power over two such different missions has been controversial, and dividing the leadership has been under discussion for some time at the Pentagon. Alexander’s departure gives President Barack Obama a chance to make changes at the two agencies, both headquartered at Fort Meade, Md.

“The current arrangement was designed to ensure that both organizations complement each other effectively,” Hayden said. “That said, in consultation with appropriate agencies, we are looking to ensure we are appropriately postured to address current and future security needs.”

Alexander has led the NSA since 2005 and he added the Cyber Command to his duties when that entity was created in 2010 as attacks against U.S. military networks escalated. It is responsible for both offensive and defensive capabilities — defending department networks and conducting cyber operations against U.S. enemies.

The NSA has been one of the most secretive of all U.S. intelligence operations. Alexander has vigorously defended its activities as lawful and necessary to detect and disrupt terrorist plots.

Alexander said secrecy about how the programs work was needed “not to hide it from you, it’s to hide it from those who walk among you and are trying to kill you.”

———

Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

Best in the Corps
Super Squad competitions are sweeping through the fleet

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook