WASHINGTON: A Navy admiral is President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next head of the National Security Agency, which is embroiled in controversy over its secret surveillance programmes and massive collection of phone and Internet data.

Vice Adm Mike Rogers, the head of the Navy's Cyber Command and a former intelligence director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is being appointed to lead the NSA, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Thursday. Rogers also is being nominated to get a fourth star and head US Cyber Command.

Rogers, who replaces Army Gen Keith Alexander at the NSA, comes into the job facing the challenge of revamping the way the agency collects and stores its data.

Alexander plans to retire in mid-March.

The NSA has been rocked by former analyst Edward Snowden's disclosures detailing widespread surveillance programmes that have swept up the phone records of hundreds of millions in the US Rogers has long been considered the heir apparent for the job.—AP

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