Director of the National Security Agency

The Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA) is the highest-ranking official of the National Security Agency, which is a Defense Agency within the U.S. Department of Defense. The Director of the NSA also concurrently serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and as Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM). As DIRNSA/CHCSS the officeholder reports through the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and as CDRUSCYBERCOM, to the Secretary of Defense.

Director of the National Security Agency
Flag of the National Security Agency
General Paul M. Nakasone, USA

since May 4, 2018
National Security Agency
StatusChief Executive
Reports to
SeatFort Meade, Maryland
NominatorSecretary of Defense
AppointerPresident of the United States
with Senate advice and consent
Constituting instrument10 U.S.C. § 201
PrecursorDirector of the Armed Forces Security Agency
First holderMG Ralph Canine, USA
DeputyDeputy Director of the National Security Agency (DNSA)

According to 10 U.S.C. § 201 of the United States Code, the Director of the NSA is recommended by the Secretary of Defense and nominated for appointment by the President. The nominee must be confirmed via majority vote by the Senate. In accordance with Department of Defense Directive 5100.20, dated 23 December 1971, the Director of the NSA must always be a commissioned officer of the military services. Because the assignment is currently part of a tri-hatted position, the Director of the NSA is appointed to the grade of a four-star general or admiral during the period of his incumbency. The Deputy Director is always a technically experienced civilian.[1]

AFSA directors

The Armed Forces Security Agency was the predecessor to the National Security Agency and existed from 1949 to 1952.

# DirectorServiceTermPresident(s) served under
1RADM Earl E. StoneUSN1949–1951Harry S. Truman
2MG Ralph CanineUSA1951–1952

NSA directors

# DirectorPhotoServiceTermPresident(s) served under
1MG Ralph CanineUSA1952–1956Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
2Lt Gen John SamfordUSAF1956–1960Dwight D. Eisenhower
3VADM Laurence FrostUSN1960–1962Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
4Lt Gen Gordon BlakeUSAF1962–1965John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
5LTG Marshall CarterUSA1965–1969Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
6VADM Noel GaylerUSN1969–1972Richard Nixon
7Lt Gen Samuel C. PhillipsUSAF1972–1973Richard Nixon
8Lt Gen Lew AllenUSAF1973–1977Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
9VADM Bobby Ray InmanUSN1977–1981Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
10Lt Gen Lincoln FaurerUSAF1981–1985Ronald Reagan
11LTG William OdomUSA1985–1988Ronald Reagan
12VADM William StudemanUSN1988–1992Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
13VADM John M. McConnellUSN1992–1996George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
14Lt Gen Kenneth A. MinihanUSAF1996–1999Bill Clinton
15Lt Gen Michael HaydenUSAF1999–2005Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
16LTG/GEN Keith B. Alexander[2]USA1 August 2005 – 28 March 2014George W. Bush
Barack Obama
17ADM Michael S. RogersUSN2 April 2014 – 4 May 2018Barack Obama
Donald Trump
18GEN Paul M. NakasoneUSA4 May 2018 – presentDonald Trump


  1. "About NSA". National Security Agency. Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  2. Originally a lieutenant general when he first assumed office on 1 August 2005. Alexander was promoted to general when he assumed the additional assignment as Commander, U.S. Cyber Command on 21 May 2010.
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