General Keith Alexander, who has led the NSA for the past eight years, is stepping down next March or April, Reuters reports. Anonymous officials have said that Alexander has voluntarily finalized plans to leave, and that NSA deputy director John Chris Inglis will be stepping down as well. Besides his long tenure as NSA head, Alexander was head of US cyber command, and has been responsible for building up a significant cybersecurity force. Most recently, though, he's weathered a series of leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden, during which he's had to defend his agency's considerable data gathering capabilities.
Alexander was reportedly a major force in building up the NSA's current spying program — though anonymous sources described him as a "cowboy" whose quest for ever more data created tension in the agency. Now, Reuters' sources say he could be replaced by Admiral Michael Rogers, who currently heads the Navy's cyber command. But no final decision has been made, and it's possible that the positions of NSA head and US cyber command could be separated altogether. With Alexander and Inglis' departure, the Obama administration will be given a sort of fresh start, especially as President Obama promises a comprehensive look at the intelligence community as a whole. But whether the future head will take the difficult step of rolling back existing powers is another question.