Despite rumors and general concern the National Security Agency (NSA) is battling other federal agencies for the lead role in the country's cybersecurity efforts, new comments from government officials state otherwise.
"We do not want to run cybersecurity for the U.S. government," Lt. Gen Keith Alexander said during the RSA security conference in San Francisco, California. "I think we need to dispel the rumors."
Alexander has led the NSA's code-breaking and communications division since 2005, and is unaware of who will be selected to lead the White House's cybersecurity department. The NSA has the ability to help prevent cyber attacks by making sure networks are properly secure, and will likely continue to provide security for military agencies.
The Department of Homeland Security currently oversees cybersecurity for civilian agencies, though it's possible that can change once President Obama announces changes after a mandated 60-day cybersecurity review.
Alexander's remarks come a month after the head of the U.S. cybersecurity center said there was a strong power grab by the NSA. Furthermore, Rob Beckstrom said the NSA's influence over how the National Cybersecurity Center handled cyber issues was problematic towards the agency.
"While acknowledging the critical importance of NSA To our intelligence efforts, I believe this is a bad strategy on multiple grounds," Beckstrom wrote in a note to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Analysts expect President Obama to make a decision in the next couple weeks about a cybersecurity department and who will run it, which should help ease worries of an internal government power struggle from several agencies.
Something must be done, as there is growing concern of organized cyber attacks from China and Eastern Europe. China has denied its role in cyber attacks, but the Department of Defense (DoD) is more worried about protecting more than 7 million DoD computers across the world.