The Department of Defense announced this week that Secretary Chuck Hagel has appointed Vice Adm. Michael Rogers as the head of the National Security Agency (NSA). 

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

A trained cryptologist, Rogers currently commands the Navy’s 10th Fleet, which serves as the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) Fleet.

Rogers will replace Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who has held the directorship since 2005 and carried the agency through a spate of recent controversies. Alexander has spoken publicly over the past year about his planned retirement in 2014.

“This is a critical time for the NSA, and Vice Adm. Rogers would bring extraordinary and unique qualifications to this position as the agency continues its vital mission and implements President Obama’s reforms,” Hagel said in a statement.

As a DoD sub-agency, the Defense Secretary can appoint Rogers to the NSA without congressional approval. However, the NSA director simultaneously serves as commander of CYBERCOM. Since CYBERCOM is a combatant command under Title 10 authority, Rogers will require a hearing and Senate confirmation to assume that position. DoD said the White House has accepted its recommendation to nominate Rogers as head of CYBERCOM.

Rick Ledgett will serve as the NSA’s Deputy Director. Ledgett has been leading the effort to assess the impact of former contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks on the agency.