Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of Army Cyber Command, is considered by observers to be a top contender to lead the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command when Adm. Mike Rogers retires.

Nakasone, who took command of Army Cyber Command in October 2016, has been leading an organization that has grown rapidly to stand up 41 cyber protection teams and the service’s new cyber career branch.

He has been cited as a frontrunner for the job in a report by Fifth Domain, a sister publication of Army Times.

President Trump is expected to name Nakasone to the job heading one of the nation’s top security agencies, according to a report Tuesday in Politico.

Rogers will soon be at the end of his four-year term in the dual role.

A spokesman for Army Cyber Command on Wednesday told Army Times the command could not comment at this time on whether Nakasone is being considered for the top job at NSA and Cyber Command.

Before commanding Army Cyber Command, Nakasone was the leader of the Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command. He has also been director of intelligence for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

At the helm of the Army’s newest command, Nakasone has been vocal about the way forward for the Army’s role in multidomain warfighting, and the progress Army cyber has seen.

A common narrative a year ago was that ISIS could operate in virtual space uncontested, and “there wasn’t much we could do about it,” Nakasone said recently at the International Conference on Cyber Conflict in Washington, D.C.

But in the past year “we have taken that on, and that narrative is no longer true,” he said.

An “incredible amount of work” has gone into creating Army cyber forces, doctrine and strategy in the last few years, Nakasone said, and the pace is faster than expected.

“We are running faster than our headlights,” he said at the cyber conference. “We are learning so much we are well forward of where we thought we’d be.”

Kathleen Curthoys is editor of Army Times. She has been an editor at Military Times for 20 years, covering issues that affect service members. She previously worked as an editor and staff writer at newspapers in Columbus, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; Bloomington, Indiana; Monterey, California and in Germany.

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