NSA Launches Cybersecurity Directorate

Gen. Paul Nakasone

Gen. Paul Nakasone Jose Luis Magana/AP

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The group is charged with defending the country’s national security infrastructure and defense contractors against digital threats.

The National Security Agency on Tuesday announced the launch of a new division aimed at protecting the country’s intelligence and defense apparatus against foreign cyber threats.

The newly minted Cybersecurity Directorate will bring the agency’s foreign intelligence and cyber operations together under the same roof, helping the agency “operationalize [its] threat intelligence, vulnerability assessments and cyber defense expertise,” according to a post on the NSA website.

The group, which NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone officially made public at the International Conference on Cybersecurity, is scheduled to be up and running by Oct. 1. 

The directorate will “redefine [NSA's] cybersecurity mission,” Nakasone said in a statement. “What I’m trying to get to in a space like cyberspace is speed, agility and unity of effort.”

The directorate will be led by Anne Neuberger, who previously headed the agency’s Russia Small Group, a joint task force created by the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command to combat Russian influence campaigns and election interference efforts. Neuberger also served as the agency’s first chief risk officer and deputy director of operations, according to the post. In her new role, she will report directly to Nakasone.

According to the post, the directorate is charged with defending the country’s national security infrastructure, including defense contractors, from digital attacks. In doing so, the group will work with closely with the Homeland Security Department, FBI and U.S. Cyber Command, as well as the private sector, to share information and expertise on foreign cyber threats.

News of the directorate was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.