Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, whose Maryland district is home to the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Cyber Command, is warning Pentagon leaders not to pursue reported efforts to split the agencies’ leadership.
For years, Congress has blocked proposals to sever the “dual hat” relationship between the two agencies, which are both located on the grounds of Fort Meade and share a director. In fact, Congress in 2017 included language in its defense policy bill expressly prohibiting a split unless certain conditions are met, such as certification that a separation will not threaten the effectiveness of each organization.
None of those conditions have been met, said Ruppersberger, who is also a Defense Appropriator.
“You can’t conduct cyber operations without intelligence and you can’t collect this intelligence without good cyber capabilities,” he said. “Splitting this relationship now, as we still assess the damage from what could be the worst cyberattack in American history, is not only inadvisable, but currently illegal.”
“In fact, given the early recovery stage from this attack – which high-ranking Trump Administration officials have linked to the Russian government – we should be providing agencies and departments with the resources and authority they need to close security gaps and get the bad guys out of our networks, not tearing organizations apart,” Ruppersberger said.