cyber-command (1)

Senate confirms Cyber Command deputy, new Navy cyber leader

The Senate confirmed a pair of key cybersecurity nominees on Thursday, including a new deputy for U.S. Cyber Command.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh was approved by voice vote to be the next No. 2 at the military’s elite digital warfighting organization.

Senators also approved Navy Rear Adm. Craig Clapperton to be the new chief of Fleet Cyber Command and to become a vice admiral.

The confirmations came late Thursday afternoon as the Senate looked to clear its agenda before the Memorial Day recess.

Haugh will replace Lt. Gen. Charles Moore, who has served as Cyber Command’s No. 2 since September 2020.

Haugh was nominated for his new role last month, as was Clapperton. The Senate Armed Services Committee advanced their nominations on Tuesday.

Haugh previously served in a variety of senior roles at Cyber Command, including as the head of the Cyber National Mission Force where he co-led a joint election security task force with the National Security Agency that worked to protect the 2018 midterms from foreign hackers. 

He also served as Cyber Command’s director of intelligence and was the deputy chief of Joint Task Force-Ares, a unit the Pentagon created in 2016 especially to combat the Islamic State online.

Haugh is widely considered to be the most likely successor to current Cyber Command and NSA chief Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, who was recently asked to remain in his “dual-hat” leadership post for another year.

The confirmation puts Haugh once again at the forefront of the command’s efforts to keep U.S. elections free of foreign meddling, this time with November’s midterms.

It also will give him a front row seat to the command’s ongoing “force structure assessment” of its Cyber Mission Force. The size of the cadre of around 6,200 personnel pulled from the military branches and divided into 133 teams has remained static for roughly the last decade even as the command has taken on new missions, such as election security and battling ransomware.

The host is set to expand by 14 teams over the next few years, but Nakasone testified last month that those units are only a “down payment” on how much the force will ultimately grow.

Clapperton was also confirmed to be the next head of Fleet Cyber Command.

Clapperton, a career naval aviator, most recently served as the No. 2 of the service’s digital warfighting branch. Prior to that, he was the deputy director of operations at Cyber Command.

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak

is the senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. Prior to joining Recorded Future News in 2021, he spent more than five years at Politico, where he covered digital and national security developments across Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He previously was a reporter at The Hill, National Journal Group and Inside Washington Publishers.