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NSA, Cyber Command leadership to remain dual-hatted role

Dec. 13, 2013 - 01:35PM   |  
FILE: NSA Chief Set To Step Down
The White House has decided to keep the positions of director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command together when Gen. Keith Alexander retires in 2014, according to an administration spokeswoman. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)
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The White House has decided to keep the positions of director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command together when Gen. Keith Alexander retires in 2014, according to an administration spokeswoman. Alexander currently fills both roles, but it had been unclear whether he would have a single successor or two.

“Following a thorough interagency review, the administration has decided that keeping the positions of NSA Director and Cyber Command Commander together as one, dual-hatted position is the most effective approach to accomplishing both agencies’ missions,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an email. “Given Gen. Alexander’s retirement this spring, it was the natural time to review the existing arrangement.”

The Washington Post first reported the story.

The decision comes as the administration tries to recover from devastating leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency’s controversial data collection processes.

“By virtue of their relationship, Cyber Command is able to fully leverage NSA’s cryptologic enterprise to direct the operation and defense of DoD networks, enabling a more coordinate and rapid response to countering threats in cyberspace,” Hayden said. “Without the dual-hat arrangement, elaborate procedures would have to be put in place to ensure that effective coordination continued and avoid creating duplicative capabilities in each organization.”

Alexander was named NSA director in 2005 and became chief of U.S. Cyber Command in 2010. The head of Cyber Command must be a military officer.

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