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US government names new head of NSA and US Cyber Command

Vice Admiral Michael Rogers reporting for duty

NSA's Fort Meade headquarters

The Secretary of Defense has appointed new leadership for the NSA, the Central Security Service, and the US Cyber Command, with Vice Admiral Michael Rogers as the new boss and Richard Ledgett as his civilian deputy.

Vice Admiral Rogers is currently head of the US Navy's 10th Fleet, which in the Second World War handled anti-submarine operations before being shut down. It was reactivated in 2010 to deal with the Navy's cryptography and cyber warfare operations.

Rogers, a Chicago native, joined the Navy in 1981. Five years later he was seconded to cryptographic operations and has worked in communications and online warfare ever since, in some cases carrying out "direct support missions" from ships and submarines in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean.

He takes over from the outgoing General Keith Alexander at a time when the US intelligence community is still reeling from the information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Alexander announced his decision to step down in October, but insisted it had nothing to do with Snowden.

His deputy is, as is traditional, a civilian. Richard Ledgett is a senior NSA analyst and the man in charge of the investigation into the Snowden affair. So far his investigation has revealed that Snowden went on the run with over a million classified documents, a tiny fraction of which have since been released.

Ledgett has also served spells as the director of the NSA’s Threat Operations Center and Director for Collection/National Intelligence Manager for Cyber at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In congressional hearings on Wednesday, the heads of the intelligence service were called to testify on the current state of play in the intelligence services. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that the US faced greater threats than at any time in his 50-year career and that Snowden's actions had weakened US national security.

"I won’t dwell on the debate about Snowden’s motives or legal standing, or on the supreme ironies associated with his choice of freedom-loving nations and beacons of free expression from which to rail about what an Orwellian state he thinks this country has become," Clapper said.

"But what I do want to speak to, as the nation’s senior intelligence officer, is the profound damage that his disclosures have caused and continue to cause. As a consequence, the nation is less safe and its people less secure." ®

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