Obama to name new NSA director

President Obama will soon nominate Vice Adm. Mike Rogers to be the new director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Pentagon’s cyber defense unit.

Rogers would replace Gen. Keith Alexander, who has led the spy agency for almost nine years but plans to step down in March.

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Rogers would step into the post while the NSA is undergoing a series of reforms in response to outcries about the agency’s broad surveillance programs. Obama this month proposed a handful of measures to rein in the collection of records about Americans’ phone calls and other efforts that will require congressional action.

In a statement Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that Rogers, who currently heads the Navy’s Cyber Command and has spent more than 30 years in the armed services, would bring “extraordinary and unique qualifications” to the position.

“I am also confident that Admiral Rogers has the wisdom to help balance the demands of security, privacy, and liberty in our digital age,” he added. 

As director of the civilian NSA, Rogers would also become the head of the military’s four-year-old Cyber Command.

Last year, he told The Navy Times, "if you are not excited by the opportunity that cyber represents to the Navy… then you do not have a pulse.” 

A White House review group proposed splitting the two roles to avoid confusing the twin responsibilities. The White House rejected that suggestion last year.

Before assuming the leadership spot, Rogers would have to be confirmed by the Senate. 

Rogers shares a name with Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Rick Leggett, who has been in charge of assessing the damages of leaks from former contractor Edward Snowden, is set to be the NSA’s deputy director.

— Kristina Wong contributed.