NSA, Cyber Command leader visits Joint Base San Antonio

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas --

Admiral Michael S. Rogers, commander, U.S. Cyber Command; director, National Security Agency; and chief, Central Security Service, held a town hall Feb. 17 at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland to discuss the future of 24th and 25th Air Force and his push for integration.

“I try to get out and about, both in my role as commander of Cyber Command, to come down here to see AF Cyber and my 24th Air Force teammates, as well as in my role as director of the National Security Agency, where I try to come down and see my 25th Air Force teammates in their roles as the service cryptological element for the United States Air Force,” Rogers said.

During the town hall, Rogers commended the Airmen for their accomplishments.

“You have generated value that is recognized at the senior most levels of our government, and that is appreciated at the senior most levels of our government,” Rogers said.

Rogers also applauded his Cyber Command teammates, to include those in 24th Air Force, who are in a situation where they have created a sense of value to where operational commanders are “pounding down the door” to get that capacity, he said.

In Rogers’ discussion on the NSA side, he said NSA 21 is the biggest set of changes the agency has undergone since 2000-2001.

NSA was previously organized according to target, but now is organized by mission, he said. Rogers, who spent 30 years as a cryptologist, said he believes the NSA should be organized by functional capabilities.

“We have hired about 55 percent of NSA’s workforce in the post 9-11 environment,” Rogers said. Which means, over half the work force is being asked to change to an environment totally different from everything they have done previously.

Rogers said one of the focuses of NSA 21 is integration.

“I think the key to the future is integration,” Rogers said. “To be a global enterprise, we have got to think in an integrated, global way. I want us to be one integrated, global enterprise. I don’t care if you are a contractor, Guard, Reserve, civilian, active military, we have got to be one integrated force that’s working together.”

Rogers said NSA 21 will help integrate and fundamentally change the agency’s culture and ethos.

The changes will focus on what is valued and how to build the future, he said, stressing that building the future involves people.

An important part of keeping people is funding what they find important, Rogers said, adding that previous budget cuts took away from training, education and hiring.

“How can we tell the work force we value people, and the first things we tee up take away from our people,” Rogers said. So, in the 2017 budget, he said, “We will not cut a single personnel-associated program. In fact, we will find more money in some areas.” This will include increased funding for the internship program, training, conferences and recruiting, he said.

“If people really are our most important entity, then our investment strategy needs to reflect that,” he said.

On the Cyber Command side, Rogers said requirements and mission are growing faster than resources.

This is the nature of life in cyber,” Rogers said. “We will not complete the build of the force until 30 September 2018.”

Rogers said the good news is, “You are generating value,” and combatant commanders want more.

But, he said, what is the answer to getting more done?

The short-term answer is:  “Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. I can’t get you more capacity,” he said, adding that it takes 20 to 32 months to train someone in a cyber field and get them into place.

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service leads the U.S. Government in cryptology that encompasses both signals intelligence and information assurance products and services, and enables computer network operations in order to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and its allies under all circumstances. The agency was created in 1952 and will celebrate its 65th anniversary this year, Rogers said.

U.S. Cyber Command’s mission in cyberspace is to provide mission assurance for the operation and defense of the Department of Defense information environment; deter or defeat threats to U.S. interests and infrastructure, when directed; and support the achievement of joint force commander objectives.