By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR
SAN DIEGO: Adm. Mike Rogers, who heads both NSA and Cyber Command, is looking past CYBERCOM’s elevation to an independent Unified Command towards a much wider reorganization of military cyber. Some reorganization is implicit in a Feb. 17 memo in which Defense Secretary Jim Mattis charges Deputy Secretary Bob Work to “develop an initial plan… for more optimized organizational structure and processes to support information management and cyber operations.” But speaking to the AFCEA-USNI West 2017 conference here, Rogers proposed an array of specific changes, from giving tactical units more authority to conduct cyber attacks to creating a new structure to oversee both cyber and electronic warfare.
Rogers was notably silent on one burning issue: splitting the two agencies he runs. Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper both pushed to separate NSA and CYBERCOM, but Rogers was publicly reluctant, as was Senate Armed Forces Chairman John McCain. The 2017 defense bill elevated CYBERCOM from a component of Strategic Command to an independent top-level Unified Command (Sec. 923), but it but forbade separating CYBERCOM from NSA until the Pentagon studied the split and certified it would not pose “unacceptable” risk (Sec. 1642). “We’re looking at the issue,” DoD spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told The Hill. That study and other NDAA provisions are the impetus for Mattis’s memo.