The US administration has reportedly decided to continue military leadership of the National Security Agency and the Pentagon’s premier force in cyberspace.
The White House had been mulling over splitting the leadership, but spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that the current setup is the most effective approach to accomplishing both agencies’ missions.
According to Politico, as NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander has indicated that he would retire from the helm of both organizations early next year, the current decision ensures that any future director of both entities must remain a military officer.
Earlier, sources had indicated that the task force also would endorse civilian leadership of the NSA, while splitting the agency off from Cyber Command.
Hayden further said that NSA plays a unique role in supporting Cyber Command’s mission, providing critical support for target access and development, and without the dual-hat arrangement, elaborate procedures would have to be put in place to ensure that effective coordination continued and avoid creating duplicative capabilities in each organization.
This comes amidst the prolonged controversy about the US’ alleged mass surveillance programmes following revelations by Edward Snowden, which has prompted the administration to review the NSA surveillance methods.