June 1, 2013
Summer is upon us and the annual “merry go round” of government military and intelligence officials leaving Washington for new assignments is beginning.
Up at NSA headquarters at Fort George G. Meade, there have been some recent changes at the top of the agency’s cyber espionage, or computer network exploitation unit, called the Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), whicvh is referred to on NSA’s internal organization charts by its alpha-numeric designator S32.
In April, TAO got a new chief. His name is Robert E. Joyce, who before taking this new assignment was the deputy chief of NSA’s information security organizaton, the Information Assurance Directorate. It is slightly ironic that before moving to TAO, Joyce went around the country warning government officials and private citizens about the threat posed by Chinese and other state-sponsored cyber spies. Now he is NSA’s top cyber spy.
Here is his capsule biography taken from the program of a recent cyber security conference where he appeared:
Mr. Rob Joyce is the Deputy Director of the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) at the National Security Agency. On behalf of the Director, NSA, the IAD is the focal point for cryptography, telecommunications system security and information systems security for all national security systems. Specific responsibilities include research and development activities to generate IA techniques and solutions, ensuring the availability of IA products and solutions and understanding the threat to and vulnerability of national security systems.
Before coming to IAD, Mr. Joyce served as the SID Associate Deputy Director for Counterterrorism (ADD/CT). In this position, he led NSA’s counterterrorism efforts. His charge was to optimize the SIGINT system, ensuring maximum effectiveness against the CT mission, utilizing all NSA capabilities, integrating with the other US Government entities and global SIGINT partners.
Early in his career, Mr. Joyce completed the Engineering and Physical Science intern program rotating through SIGINT and INFOSEC offices. He spent significant time developing collection equipment and supporting field efforts. For five years, he was the chief of the Selection Systems Branch where he led in-house and contractor development of collection technology. Subsequently, he held a leadership role as the Technical Director in NSA’s Special Source Operations activities involving some of NSA’s most important accesses. Starting in 2003, Mr. Joyce served as an Iraq Issue Manager establishing priorities and providing guidance for all elements engaged in SIGINT planning, preparation, and execution for the operational campaign. Most recently, in 2005, Mr. Joyce was the Technical Director for the NSA Commercial Solution Center’s Commercial Partnerships Office, working strategic relationships with industry for technical solutions in support of support NSA missions. He served as the technical director to the Associate Deputy Director for Counterterrorism before taking on the role himself in August 2006.
Mr. Joyce graduated from Clarkson University in 1989 with a Bachelors Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and received a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1993. Mr. Joyce resides in Odenton, Maryland with his wife, Jennifer, son RJ, and twin daughters Sarah and Katherine. He enjoys sports including basketball and volleyball and is interested in coin collecting, computers and genealogy.
The Pentagon just announced yesterday the name of the deputy chief of TAO, who will replace Rear Admiral Willie L. Metts, who as I previously reported is moving to Hawaii to be the new director of intelligence for U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Admiral Metts’ replacement as deputy chief of TAO is Navy Captain (soon to be promoted to Rear Admiral) Timothy J. White, who is currently the commander of the Naval Intelligence Operations Center Maryland hidden away with the NSA headquarters complex at Fort Meade.