When the National Security Agency — yes, the NSA — posted an opening last week for a Director, Strategic Communications, much of the reaction was skeptical and, in a word, snide. Certainly to be expected in light of the persistent drip of documents from Edward Snowden and the agency reaction. The revelations were not what we expected from the agency. They caught us by surprise and have led to calls for reform and more. As for the reaction, it has been unpersuasive.
If this new position is filled, it will require that the person selected be able to do two things that will signal success. First, to partner with the agency’s leadership to strengthen the ethical practices deployed in pursuit of the NSA’s mission: “Global Cryptologic Dominance…in order to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and our allies under all circumstances.” Second, to build and lead a team which understands and can help the agency meet public expectations. Success will be defined not as stopping the scrutiny — that could only happen over time and based on performance and likely not at all — but as beginning to bring some balance back to the story. More»