U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate a senior U.S. Navy officer as the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), the federal body embroiled in a row over its spying programme.

Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, 53, would take over at a moment when the spy agency is under unprecedented pressure following leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

“I am pleased that President Obama has accepted my recommendation to nominate Vice Admiral Michael Rogers as Commander of U.S. Cyber Command. And, I am delighted to designate him also as Director of the National Security Agency,” U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

Noting that this is a critical time for the NSA, Mr. Hagel said Mr. Rogers would bring extraordinary and unique qualifications to this position as the agency continues its vital mission and implements President Obama’s reforms.

After the furore triggered by the Snowden media leaks, Mr. Obama has proposed reforms to rein in the NSA’s spying authority in some areas.

Mr. Rogers, a trained cryptologist, would take over from Gen Keith Alexander at the helm of the NSA, and also as head of the U.S. military cyber command.

As commander of the navy’s 10th Fleet and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, he has already demonstrated his leadership and deep expertise in this critical domain. His navy career spans 30 years.

“I am also confident that Admiral Mr. Rogers has the wisdom to help balance the demands of security, privacy, and liberty in our digital age,” Mr. Hagel said.

If confirmed, he will be joined by Deputy Director and senior civilian leader Rick Ledgett, whom Mr. Hagel appointed.

Mr. Leggett has managed the NSA’s media leaks task force, which evaluated the effect of the classified information disclosed by Mr. Snowden.

More In: World | International | News