CYBERCOM Leader Offers Advice for His Successor

The outgoing U.S. Cyber Command leader Adm. Mike Rogers

The outgoing U.S. Cyber Command leader Adm. Mike Rogers Alex Brandon/AP

U.S. Cyber Command's mission has already outgrown its capacity.

The outgoing U.S. Cyber Command leader offered his successor some advice Tuesday: You’re going to need more people.

The next CYBERCOM leader will inherit a 10-year-old structure that needs some adjustments and additional capacity, Adm. Michael Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday. He said he’d like to take lessons learned over eight years of operations to retool teams and figure out ways to work with partners in a faster, more agile way.

“We need to increasingly treat Cyber Command as a high demand, low density resource where we have the knowledge that there’s not enough capacity to do everything we want,” he said. The command continually re-evaluates where its resources are allocated based on current risks.

CYBERCOM is on pace for its 133 Cyber Mission Force teams, comprising roughly 6,200 people, to reach full operating capability as early as June, according to Rogers’ written testimony.

In the spring, when Rogers is scheduled to retire, CYBERCOM will make its mandated transition to a unified combatant command, connecting its leader directly to the Secretary of Defense and the president. Rogers’ written testimony said CYBERCOM will request a new headquarters so it can consolidate staff that are currently spread out between 10 NSA buildings around the Baltimore-Washington Highway Corridor.

Rogers is both the leader of CYBERCOM and the National Security Agency. His replacement will continue that dual-hat arrangement in the near-term because of CYBERCOM’s expanded mission to plan and execute global cyberspace operations.

The president nominated Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, who currently leads U.S. Army Cyber Command, to replace Rogers earlier this month. Nakasone helped stand up CYBERCOM under its first chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, and oversaw the Army’s Cyber Mission Force teams when they reached full operating capability a year ahead of schedule. Nakasone’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Thursday.