By Julian Hattem - 01/30/14 04:42 PM EST
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.
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.