A new boss is headed to the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.

After more than five years atop the country’s premier intelligence agency and cyber-fighting organization, Army Gen. Paul Nakasone was scheduled Feb. 2 to pass the torch to Air Force Gen. Timothy Haugh.

The change-of-command ceremony at Fort Meade, Maryland, was not livestreamed, and a request for comment made to CYBERCOM was not immediately answered. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was scheduled to attend and speak at the event, according to a Pentagon travel advisory.

Haugh previously served as the deputy at CYBERCOM, tasked with guarding sensitive Defense Department information and coordinating digital operations. He also served as the commander of the Cyber National Mission Force, which has deployed more than 55 times to 27 countries — including Ukraine, ahead of Russia’s invasion, and Albania, in the wake of Iranian hacks — to identify network weakness.

President Joe Biden tapped Haugh for the post in May. The process, though, was paralyzed by a hold on all senior military nominations enacted by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, an Alabama Republican.

CYBERCOM stands at a pivotal point as Haugh takes over. Now more than a decade old, the command is undergoing what officials have described as a holistic review.

The U.S. is increasingly focused on countering Russia and China while also juggling extremist groups in the Greater Middle East and Africa. Each poses unique challenges to offense and defense in the virtual world.

“In the cyber domain, we’re undergoing several efforts to shape the future of our cyber forces, including how we generate, train and organize for maximum effect, what some of us have started calling ‘Cyber Command 2.0,’” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb told reporters in January.

“We’re starting to think this could be a really great opportunity for us to go to that next level of evolution for Cyber Command,” he added.

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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