Armed Services panel clears NSA-Cyber chief, deputy Defense secretary

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a slew of nominees on Wednesday, including Vice Adm. Michael Rogers as the head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command and Robert Work as deputy defense secretary.

The committee also approved Gen. Paul Selva to take over as U.S. Transportation Command chief, Michael McCord as Pentagon comptroller and Christine Wormuth as undersecretary for policy.

All of the nominations now head to the Senate floor for a final confirmation vote.

Rogers’s nomination to take over the NSA and Cyber Command could still face some resistance on the floor as the chamber debates the NSA’s surveillance programs.

The White House may have given Rogers some cover this week as President Obama announced a proposed end to the NSA’s bulk data collection of phone records.

The administration’s proposal was praised Tuesday by NSA critics like Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

At his confirmation hearing, Rogers pledged to make the NSA’s surveillance efforts more transparent and to protect privacy rights.

Work, who would be the No. 2 civilian at the Pentagon, also seemed to face a rocky road to confirmation after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) threatened to place a hold on his nomination last month over the littoral combat ship (LCS).

McCain was not happy with Work’s responses at his confirmation hearing, saying he was “stunned” that Work had not read a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on LCS cost overruns.

McCain then sent a letter to Work requesting more information about his views on the ship, which has been scaled back by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

An aide said that McCain was disappointed with some of Work’s answers in his letter, but he would not be placing a hold on the nomination.