Senate confirms Biden’s pick for Cyber Command, NSA

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The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh was unanimously confirmed by voice vote to serve as the “dual-hat” leader of both organizations after Sen. Tommy Tuberville dropped the remainder of his blanket hold on military nominations — ending an almost yearlong standoff in protest of the Defense Department’s abortion policy.

Haugh’s nomination had been one of a dozen high-level military promotions that the Alabama Republican said he would continue to block after he relented earlier this month on hundreds of lower-level nominees.

Haugh, currently Cyber Command’s No. 2, will replace Army Gen. Paul Nakasone after a nearly six-year term that has seen both entities’ authorities and responsibilities grow to include missions like protecting U.S. elections from foreign interference and battling ransomware operators online.

Nakasone is also credited for overhauling how Cyber Command utilizes its hackers against foreign threats via a doctrine of “persistent engagement” — where U.S. forces are engaged in non-stop contact with adversaries in cyberspace, including taking offensive actions.

Haugh has a long history at Cyber Command and previously led the Air Force’s digital and information warfare branch. He will now receive his fourth star several months after he sailed through his confirmation hearings before the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees.

In addition to Tuberville’s blockade, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) put a hold on Haugh’s nomination until the Pentagon acknowledged if the NSA, the world’s largest spy organization, is buying the location data and web browsing records of U.S. citizens from data brokers.

The NSA and DoD “have provided Senator Wyden with information that is responsive to his inquiry about the purchase of Americans’ data, including internet browsing data, and therefore he has lifted his hold on General Haugh’s nomination,” Keith Chu, a Wyden spokesman, said in a statement.

The senator “is reviewing the materials and anticipates making them public following that review,” he added.

The Senate confirmed Army Maj. Gen. William Hartman, the head of the Cyber National Mission Force, to be Haugh’s deputy earlier this month when Tuberville’s blockade first broke.

The confirmations now allow both Cyber Command and NSA to make additional leadership changes, including within the intelligence agency cybersecurity directorate.

The Pentagon, Cyber Command and NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Martin Matishak is the senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. Prior to joining Recorded Future News in 2021, he spent more than five years at Politico, where he covered digital and national security developments across Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He previously was a reporter at The Hill, National Journal Group and Inside Washington Publishers.

 

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