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Retired USAF Gen. James Clapper, former director of the national intelligence, retired Adm. James Stavridis, former head of US European Command, and retired USAF Gen. Michael Hayden, former NSA director, testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 11, 2017. Screenshot photo.​

​Two retired Air Force generals and a retired admiral told Congress Thursday that US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency should be separated. “NSA is a crucial component of the intelligence community, and I don’t believe it’s healthy for it to be essentially subordinated to a sub-unified command in DOD,” retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Currently, NSA is organized under CYBERCOM, with the commander also serving as director of the NSA. Retired Adm. James Stavridis, former boss of US European Command, agreed with Clapper, telling the committee “the jobs are too big, the missions are different, the span of control is of deep concern.” While both men insisted that ongoing collaboration between the two entities would be essential for US cyber defense efforts, “two separate leaders are needed,” Stavridis said. “Cyber command and NSA have to be separated,” added retired USAF Gen. Michael Hayden, former NSA director. “That’s not a panacea” for improving cyber defense of the US, he said, “but I think it’s a powerful step forward.”