Navy may scrap cyber assistant secretary position

Just three weeks ago the Department of the Navy boosted its planned reorganization that would create a new assistant secretary position to manage cyber, IT and data but at the end of last week Navy Secretary Richard Spencer seemed to indicate the Navy might scrap that position for the time being.

To incorporate the Senate-confirmed post within its headquarters reorganization, the military branch planned to shift the responsibilities of the assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment to the assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition.

“While Navy leadership has been recently evaluating options with this portfolio due to competing priorities, the Secretary of the Navy remains fully committed to the role and responsibilities,” Spencer told members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services after its chairman, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., questioned the wisdom of abolishing the installations position responsible for addressing complaints of sub-par military housing by Navy families.

Inhofe took Spencer to task for speaking with staff about the new cyber position, even after the committee had told him not to announce it.

“It’s a risk that we have to manage,” Spencer said, apologizing for his “office getting ahead of the lights” on the announcement. “We are marching along, and we will keep everything in place as-is.”

Naval and intelligence officials are scheduled to go before the committee again March 13 to present a report on “The Most Significant Threats to U.S. Naval Forces and How U.S. Naval Forces Plan to Operate in a Contested Environment.”

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