Gen. Paul Nakasone’s decision to step down after leading both agencies for five years coincides with the nomination.
President Joe Biden has nominated Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh of the US Air Force to lead US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and the National Security Agency (NSA), according to an Air Force official. Haugh, currently serving as the deputy commander of CYBERCOM, would replace Gen. Paul Nakasone, who has been in charge of both agencies since 2018. The nomination of Haugh was first reported by Politico.
Haugh’s previous roles include commander of the Sixteenth Air Force, Air Forces Cyber, and Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas. He also served as commander of the Cyber National Mission Force and director of intelligence at CYBERCOM.
The confirmation process for Haugh, like that of many top military officials, may face delays due to Senator Tommy Tuberville’s opposition to the Defense Department’s abortion-related travel policies. Tuberville’s objection requires each nomination to be voted on individually instead of as a group.
Haugh’s nomination comes as Nakasone plans to step down after leading both agencies for five years. During his tenure, Nakasone played a leading role in addressing issues such as global ransomware and foreign election interference. He also advocated for a “defend forward” or “hunt forward” approach, where US cyber units engage adversaries on their networks before they can target American systems.
Recently, Nakasone deployed cyber advisors to assist Ukraine in securing its networks and combatting Russian hackers in cyberspace. CYBERCOM and the White House National Security Council did not provide comments on Haugh’s nomination.