Cyberspace Solarium Commission Statement on "Dual-hat" Considerations

December 20, 2020
Press Release

Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senators Angus King (I-ME), Ben Sasse (R-NE), the four legislators serving on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, released the following statement regarding reports that the Department of Defense is considering ending the “dual-hat” arrangement that sees the Commander of United States Cyber Command jointly appointed to be the Director of the National Security Agency:

“Congress laid out clear criteria about when it would be appropriate to consider whether to split the dual-hat worn by the commander of USCYBERCOM and the Director of the NSA. To our knowledge, these criteria have not been met. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to certify to Congress that splitting of the dual-hat will not pose unacceptable risks to the national security interests of the United States. This certification has not been made, and any attempt to split the dual-hat arrangement before this certification is made would clearly violate the law.”

“Our government is currently responding to a cyber incident where a sophisticated adversary had access to thousands of U.S. networks. Regardless of whether it’s better to keep or end the dual-hat arrangement between NSA and CYBERCOM, now is not the time to do it. We believe in continuing policy discussions about this arrangement, but it is unwise for any decisions to be made in the immediate future.”

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