Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers

Confirmation Hearing Opening Statement to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee

delivered 11 March 2014, Dirksen Senate Building, Washington, D.C.

Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Chairman Levin, Ranking Member Inhofe, and Distinguished Members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.

I am honored and humbled that the President has nominated me for duties as Commander of the United States Cyber Command and designated me as the next Director of the National Security Agency.

I also thank Secretary of Defense Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, for their confidence in my ability to assume these significant duties.

I'm joined today by my wife, Dana. Thirty years ago one evening -- in fact, here in Washington, D.C. -- she took a chance on a then-young Lieutenant Junior Grade Rogers -- which just goes to show that truly great things can happen to a sailor on liberty. And I want to very publicly thank her for her love and support, both for the past nearly 29 years of marriage, and for her service to the nation, and perhaps most importantly, her willingness to take on an even greater set of challenges if I am confirmed.

I've always believed that the life we live in uniform is even more difficult on our spouses and our families than it is on us, and I am blessed to have a great partner in Dana.

Now with us today are our two sons: Justin, a naval officer currently on sea duty which, on a day like today, boy it sure sounds like a great place to be; and Patrick, a very hard working college student.

I'm also honored to be here today alongside General Paul Silver [ph] who, as he has indicated, we've had the pleasure of working together before; and I can attest to his significant abilities at first hand.

If confirmed, I look forward to working closely with the members of this committee in addressing the significant cyber challenges facing our nation today and into the future. 

We face a growing array of cyber threats from foreign intelligence services, terrorists, criminal groups, and hacktivists, who are increasing their capability to steal, manipulate, or destroy information and networks in a manner that risks compromising our personal and national security. They do so via a manmade environment that is constantly evolving and through the use of techniques and capabilities that are continually changing.

This is hard work and it requires change, something seldom easy either for individuals or for organizations. If confirmed as the Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, my priority will be to generate the capabilities and capacities needed to operate in this dynamic environment and to provide senior decision makers and my fellow operational commanders with a full range of options within the cyber arena. I will partner aggressively with others in doing so, particularly with our allies and partners, those in the private and academic sectors, within the Department of Defense, and agencies and organizations across the U.S. Government as well as the Congress.

I am also mindful that Cyber Command and NSA are two different organizations, each having its own identity, authorities, and oversight mechanisms, while executing often related and linked mission sets. Each has the potential to make the other stronger in executing those missions and I will work to ensure each is appropriately focused. When there is differing opinion between them, I will make the call as the commander, always mindful that the mission of each is to deliver better mission outcomes.

I will also be ever-mindful that we must do all of this in a manner which protects the civil liberties and privacy of our citizens. I will ensure strict adherence to policy, law, and the oversight mechanisms in place. I will be an active partner in implementing the changes directed by the President with respect to aspects of the National Security Agency mission, and my intent is to be as transparent as possible in doing so, and in the broader execution of my duties if confirmed.

To the men and women of the National Security Agency and the United States Cyber Command, I thank you for your commitment to the security of our Nation and for your professionalism. I believe in you and in the missions you execute in defending the security of the Nation and its citizens. I am honored to even be considered for duty as your leader and if confirmed I look forward to joining the team. I also want to thank General Keith Alexander for his almost 40 years of commissioned service to this Nation. He has laid a solid foundation at Cyber Command and NSA for those who come behind him. He has made a huge contribution in this mission set and I thank him and Debby for all that they have given the Nation.

Finally, let me conclude by thanking those men and women, far too numerous to name individually, who have given me the love and support in my life to live the dream I have had since I was literally a young boy of being a serving naval officer. From those who shaped me in my youth to those who have led, mentored, guided, taught, or in some instances flat-out just kicked me in the tail in my time in uniform when I needed it most, I thank them. I fully realize that I am in no small part here today because of the efforts of so many others in my life.

Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you and I look forward to answering your questions.

See Also: Advance Questions for and Responses from Vice Adm. Rogers.pdf

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