NSA Director and military general Keith Alexander could be removed from his role as director of the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command, reported The Hill. Last month, Alexander announced his plans to step down from his position at the NSA by early next year.
Senior military officials have said that although they have not made an official decision concerning Alexander’s fate with the NSA, they did however mention that the Pentagon has a tentative list of civilian candidates for the job. As far as who will direct the U.S. Cyber Command, they said that a “separate military officer” would lead the group of military hackers. This would appointment would eliminate someone in a duel, directorial role in overseeing both.
However, the administration has said that the decision to break up the jobs between to officers isn’t directly related to the Edward Snowden leaks, but “reflect[s] growing concern over the power of the NSA director and a shortage of oversight of the position.”
“I believe it has to remain dual-hatted,” said Alexander last month in disagreement with the parceling out of positions. “If you try to break them up, what you have is two teams not working together.”
But because Alexander was over both departments, that gave him to much power to effectively wield and, as some would say, that led to him making sloppy choices. Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, Jason Healey, argued that point and said “Some things are better to have two centers of power. If you have just one, . . . you end up making dumb decisions.”
Such a consolidation of power also tends to undermine any checks and balances that would have otherwise been effective in the director’s oversight, noted Healey.