President Joe Biden has chosen Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh as the new leader for the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command, positions responsible for overseeing America’s cyber warfare and defense efforts.
Haugh, currently serving as the deputy commander of Cyber Command, will replace Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, who has led both organizations since May 2018. If confirmed, Haugh will be tasked with strengthening Ukraine’s cybersecurity, combating foreign interference in U.S. elections, and addressing ransomware attacks that have targeted hospitals and critical infrastructure.
Haugh’s nomination reflects the Biden administration’s commitment to maintaining a “dual-hat” posting, with one person in charge of both the NSA and Cyber Command. While some Republicans have advocated for splitting the leadership, a review conducted by a study group established by the administration signaled support for the current arrangement.
The review found that a single leader overseeing both agencies aligns with the structure of U.S. allies’ cyber and intelligence operations, enabling faster action against cyber threats.
The study group also concluded that a unified leadership streamlines decision-making within the U.S., allowing for quicker responses to intelligence. By eliminating the need for information to pass through multiple leadership structures before recommendations are made, the U.S. can act swiftly in countering cyber warfare.
The findings of the review were presented to the defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and relevant congressional committees.
Lt. Gen. Haugh, a career signals intelligence officer, brings extensive experience to the role, having served as the deputy commander at U.S. Cyber Command since August.
His nomination awaits confirmation, although it remains uncertain whether he will be affected by the blockade of all military nominations imposed by Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville due to objections about the Pentagon’s policy on travel support for troops seeking abortions in states with abortion bans.