The U.S. Senate has confirmed Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh as the leader of both U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency (NSA). The confirmation ended an almost yearlong standoff led by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who had placed a blanket hold on military nominations in protest of the Defense Department’s abortion policy. Haugh, currently Cyber Command’s No. 2, will take over from Army Gen. Paul Nakasone and oversee responsibilities that include protecting U.S. elections from foreign interference and combating online ransomware threats.
Gen. Nakasone is credited with overhauling Cyber Command’s approach to dealing with foreign threats through a doctrine of “persistent engagement,” involving continuous interaction with adversaries in cyberspace. Haugh, who previously led the Air Force’s digital and information warfare branch, has a long history at Cyber Command. His confirmation brings an end to the standoff that had blocked numerous military nominations, including Haugh’s, by Sen. Tuberville. Apart from Sen. Tuberville’s blockade, Sen.
Ron Wyden had placed a hold on Haugh’s nomination until the Pentagon provided information about whether the NSA, the world’s largest spy organization, was purchasing location data and web browsing records of U.S. citizens from data brokers. Wyden lifted the hold after receiving responsive information from the NSA and the Department of Defense. Haugh’s confirmation allows both Cyber Command and the NSA to make leadership changes, including within the intelligence agency’s cybersecurity directorate.