Fletcher in the News

U.S. Weighs Option to End Dual Leadership Role at NSA, Cyber Command: Washington Post Cites Op-Ed by Dean Stavridis

Washington Post

Dean Stavridis The Fletcher School

The Obama administration is considering ending a controversial policy that since 2010 has placed one military official at the head of both the nation’s largest spy agency and its cyber-operations command, U.S. officials said.

National Security Council officials are scheduled to meet soon to discuss the issue of separating the leadership of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command, a shift that some officials say would help avoid an undue concentration of power in one individual and separate entities with two fundamentally different missions: spying and conducting military attacks.

…In a recent article in Foreign Affairs, James G. Stavridis, former supreme allied commander of NATO [and current Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University], and Dave Weinstein, a strategic planner at Cyber Command, urged decision makers to use Alexander’s departure “as an opportunity to dissolve the marriage between the two agencies.”

“Not only do the organizations have starkly different cultures, their missions are vastly different, even contradictory,” they said. “There is, indeed, an overlap between military and intelligence missions in cyberspace. But it was a mistake to assume that they would complement, rather than impede, each other.”

The men said publicly what some military officials say privately — that the problem with the “dual-hatted” authority is that Alexander is “at once an operator and a collector in cyberspace and the arbiter for both.”

The result, Weinstein and Stavridis said, is “a dizzying conundrum for his staffs in both organizations, who find themselves having to read between the lines to ascertain which hat their boss is wearing at any given time.”

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