NSA chief promises biggest shake-up in 20 years


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The National Security Agency, the sprawling surveillance enterprise that epitomizes both the promise and the threat of cutting edge technology in the hands of the government, will next month begin its largest reorganization in 20 years, aimed at making it more innovative and agile, Director Adm. Michael Rogers said.

“In January, you’ll see us rolling out something we’re gonna call NSA21, which is NSA trying to position ourselves for the 21st century, which’ll be a pretty comprehensive set of changes we’re going to make,” he told an audience of national security and intelligence contractors Tuesday evening. The changes were in four areas, he said at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance annual dinner: “How we develop our workforce, how we develop collaboration and integration, how we innovate, [and] what’s the organizational structure we need to inculcate those things.”

He said the overhaul would be “among the most comprehensive set of changes NSA has undergone probably since the late 1990s.”

He declined to give further details, citing a promise he made to the workforce that they would the first to know about the changes, but he said the planning for the reorganization had taken “literally 10 months” and had been driven by a newly straightened fiscal climate. “We’re going to reallocate resources internally for what I think are the problem sets of today and tomorrow,” he said, adding that involved “tradeoffs … what you lose by pulling it out versus what you gain by investing it somewhere else.”

The work had exposed some gaps at the agency, he said, including that it lacked a “formal and repeatable process for assessing risk.”

He had asked senior officials to address 12 questions in the four areas, he added, so the agency could “position ourselves for success, not just today, but five or 10 years from now.”

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Admiral Mike Rogers, Department of Defense (DOD), Departments, National Security Agency (NSA), surveillance