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Paul Nakasone: NSA Implementing ‘Persistent Engagement’ to Address Adversary Threats

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Paul Nakasone

U.S. Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency and 2019 Wash100 Award winner, has identified “persistent engagement” as a key element in his leadership of the agency, NPR reported Monday.

“That’s the idea of persistent engagement. This idea of enabling and acting,” he said. Nakasone, who assumed leadership of NSA in May 2018, has taken an aggressive stance on the agency’s efforts to address threats from adversaries such as China, North Korea, Russia and Iran.

As part of his leadership strategy, Nakasone selected Anne Neuberger to head the Cybersecurity Directorate. The directorate, which is meant to consolidate the agency’s offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, is slated to launch in October.

“We are a surveillance agency in a democracy,” she said. “The risk of losing public understanding of what we’re doing, public trust and who we are as an organization is something that has to be forefront in our mind.”

Neuberger’s comments come after the agency recommended the termination of a government surveillance program under the 2015 USA Freedom Act in April. Other challenges cited by NSA officials include retaining talent despite making large hiring efforts.