WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has nominated US Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh to lead US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, an Air Force official confirmed to Breaking Defense.
If confirmed, Haugh, who currently serves as the deputy commander of CYBERCOM, will replace Gen. Paul Nakasone, who has been in charge of the military and civilian cyber shops since 2018. Haugh’s nomination was first reported by Politico.
Prior to his current role, Haugh served as the commander of the Sixteenth Air Force, Air Forces Cyber and Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, according to his official Air Force bio. He also served as the commander of the Cyber National Mission Force and the director of intelligence at CYBERCOM.
Haugh’s confirmation, like those of many top military officials, may be delayed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., who is currently holding up the process of civilian and uniformed nominees for the Pentagon over the Defense Department’s abortion-related travel policies. Technically, Tuberville’s move isn’t a hard-stop on nominations, but it would force each nomination to be voted on individually, rather than en bloc.
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Haugh’s nomination comes as Nakasone plans to step down after leading both agencies for five years. During his tenure, Nakasone took the lead on several issues including global ransomware and election interference from foreign adversaries. Nakasone also pushed CYBERCOM to adopt a “defend forward” or “hunt forward” posture in which the US military’s cyber squads try to engage in adversaries on their networks, before they can make it to American ones.
Most recently, Nakasone deployed cyber advisors to help Ukraine harden its networks and take on Russian hackers in cyberspace. CYBERCOM and the White House National Security Council did not respond to a request for comment on Haugh’s nomination.
Breaking Defense’s Aaron Mehta contributed to this report.