Cybersecurity

Head of NSA, Cyber Command expected to resign

Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command, is expected to resign from his positions in the coming months, The Wall Street Journal reported.

A source who spoke to the news outlet said Nakasone is looking to leave by August or September. But it’s unclear whether the four-star general is planning to retire or take another position in the government or move to the private sector. 

Nakasone was appointed to lead both agencies in 2018. 

As head of U.S. Cyber Command, Nakasone has focused on addressing several key issues, including election interference from U.S. adversaries and global ransomware. 

Testifying before Congress in March, Nakasone told lawmakers that election meddling is essentially here to stay, especially as nation-state threat actors like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea continue to enhance their cyber capabilities. 

He also said that influence operations and disinformation campaigns launched by U.S. adversaries are “much more prevalent these days” than attempts to hack into election systems.

His agency has also been helping Ukraine and other Eastern European countries shore up their cyber defenses following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The agency’s “hunt forward” team has conducted more than 30 operations in dozens of countries, including Estonia, Montenegro, Croatia, North Macedonia, and Latvia.  

The team is a defensive cyber group made of U.S. military and civilian personnel. 

Nakasone’s expected resignation comes as the Pentagon is still reeling from a massive leak of classified documents that revealed information about the U.S. involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war and how America allegedly spies on its foes and allies. 

The alleged leaker, Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guard airman, was arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act and another statute that prohibits the unauthorized removal of classified documents.

This would be the second time this year that a high-ranking cyber official in the administration steps down. Earlier this year, Chris Inglis resigned as head of the Office of the National Cyber Director. 

Inglis was appointed in 2021 to lead the office as the first national cyber director. In his role, he also served as the principal adviser to the president on cybersecurity policy and strategy.

In a statement to The Hill, spokespersons for the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command said, “General Nakasone serves at the pleasure of the President. He remains focused on leading U.S. Cyber Command, the National Security Agency and Central Security Service in their critical missions to safeguard the nation.”

The NSA added that it “does not discuss personnel matters.”

Tags Chris Inglis Chris Inglis NSA Paul Nakasone Paul Nakasone US Cyber Command

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