Navy cyber warfare chief is Obama’s pick to lead NSA
Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers would succeed Gen. Keith Alexander, whose retirement had been planned before the leaking of U.S. secrets roiled the spy agency.
By Ken Dilanian | (LATimes)
January 27, 2014, 8:11 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Navy cryptologist Michael S. Rogers is President Obama’s top choice to take over the embattled National Security Agency — which conducts electronic surveillance operations worldwide — and the Pentagon’s cyber warfare command, officials say.
Rogers’ experience includes 30 years in the Navy, where he rose to vice admiral and managed the intelligence portfolio for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Currently, he runs the Navy’s cyber warfare arm.
If confirmed by the Senate, Rogers, 54, will succeed Gen. Keith Alexander, who is retiring after leading the NSA through one of the toughest periods in its history — the hemorrhaging of secrets by former contractor Edward Snowden. That will put Rogers in the public eye for the foreseeable future.
In the latest leak, the New York Times, ProPublica and the Guardian reported Monday that the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, can secretly collect an individual’s location, age, sex and other personal data from smartphone applications, including such popular apps as the game Angry Birds.
Former colleagues praise Rogers’ experience and judgment, and say he is suited for such a sensitive position.
“Mike was a class act — professional, dedicated, cheerful even under enormous pressure, wicked smart,” John Nagl, a former Army counter-insurgency expert who knew Rogers when they both worked for the Joint Chiefs, wrote in an email. “I can think of no one I trust more implicitly to make the important calls about balancing privacy and national security that if confirmed he will make many times a day.”
Richard “Dickie” George, the former technical director of the NSA’s information assurance directorate, called Rogers “probably the best guy that we know of to take over that job.”
“He’s not an Alexander, but maybe that’s good at this point in time,” he added. “Alexander was trying to push the envelope as far as he could, but Rogers is much more conservative.”
Alexander, who has led the NSA since 2005 and is the agency’s longest-serving director, made no apologies for using the NSA’s vast eavesdropping powers to collect everything possible within the law, both at home and abroad. Rogers is expected to give more weight to threats to privacy, risk of exposure and perceptions abroad.
Obama decided last month not to split the leadership of the NSA and Cyber Command, as some senior intelligence officials had advocated. He also decided not to end the NSA tradition of naming a uniformed officer, rather than a civilian, as director.
Alexander’s civilian deputy, John “Chris” Inglis, recently retired, and Alexander is expected to leave in mid-March. Their departures were planned before Snowden began feeding thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists in June, shortly before he fled to Russia, but the change in leadership offers Obama a chance to reform the agency from within.
A White House spokeswoman declined comment, as did a spokesman for Rogers.
The Navy’s cyber warfare arm is known as the 10th Fleet, although it isn’t really a fleet. Headquartered within U.S. Cyber Command at Ft. Meade, Md. — also home to the NSA — it consists of about 15,000 officers, sailors and contractors who seek to defend the Navy from cyber attack and plan offensive operations.
“If you are not excited by the opportunity that cyber represents to the Navy then you do not have a pulse,” Rogers told the Navy Times last year.
Source: Los Angeles Times[notify textbox-grey]
COMMANDER, U.S. FLEET CYBER COMMAND
COMMANDER, U.S. 10TH FLEET
Vice Adm. Rogers is a native of Chicago and attended Auburn University, graduating in 1981 and receiving his commission via the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. Originally a surface warfare officer (SWO), he was selected for re-designation to cryptology (now Information Warfare) in 1986.
He assumed his present duties as commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/commander, U.S. 10th Fleet in September 2011. Since becoming a flag officer in 2007, Rogers has also been the director for Intelligence for both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Pacific Command.
Duties afloat have included service at the unit level as a SWO aboard USS Caron (DD 970); at the strike group level as the senior cryptologist on the staff of Commander, Carrier Group Two/John F. Kennedy Carrier Strike Group; and, at the numbered fleet level on the staff of Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet embarked in USS Lasalle (AGF 3) as the fleet information operations (IO) officer and fleet cryptologist. He has also led cryptologic direct support missions aboard U.S. submarines and surface units in the Arabian Gulf and Mediterranean.
Ashore, Rogers commanded Naval Security Group Activity Winter Harbor, Maine (1998-2000); and, has served at Naval Security Group Department; NAVCOMSTA Rota, Spain; Naval Military Personnel Command; Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; the Bureau of Personnel as the cryptologic junior officer detailer; and, Commander, Naval Security Group Command as aide and executive assistant (EA) to the commander.
Rogers’ joint service both afloat and ashore has been extensive and, prior to becoming a flag officer, he served at U.S. Atlantic Command, CJTF 120 Operation Support Democracy (Haiti), Joint Force Maritime Component Commander, Europe, and the Joint Staff. His Joint Staff duties (2003-2007) included leadership of the J3 Computer Network Attack/Defense and IO Operations shops, EA to the J3, EA to two Directors of the Joint Staff, special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, director of the Chairman’s Action Group, and a leader of the JCS Joint Strategic Working Group.
Rogers is a distinguished graduate of the National War College and a graduate of highest distinction from the Naval War College. He is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI fellow and holds a Master of Science in National Security Strategy.