Hancock County and national security


This post has been corrected to clarify the distinction between the positions of National Security Advisor and director of the National Security Agency.

If President Obama’s latest nominee to run the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command gets approved by the Senate, he will be one of a handful of high-level national security officials in the past several decades to have connections to Hancock County.

But the connection Navy Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers has to the rugged coast on and around Mount Desert Island is a little different from two who have served as national security advisors under prior presidents.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who held the position of national security advisor during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, and Stephen J. Hadley, who held the same position under George W. Bush, each summer on MDI, Brzezinski in Northeast Harbor and Hadley in Somesville. They’re among a certain class of power elite with seasonal homes in coastal Hancock County that includes (or has included) a half dozen billionaires and other high-powered pols such as George Mitchell, Olympia Snowe, Nelson Rockefeller, and Caspar Weinberger.

Rogers is not one of those people. He has been nominated by Obama to be the director of the National Security Agency, which is a Department of Defense position and so is considered to be less political than that of national security advisor, which is a White House staff appointment that the president can make without Senate confirmation.

Given that the position of director of the NSA falls to career, high-ranking military officers, it makes sense that Rogers’ connection to Hancock County involves a prior stop in his military career. According to his official Navy biography, Rogers served as commander of the former Navy base at Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor from 1998 to 2000.

The base, the origins of which date back to World War I, was closed down in 2002 and now is the site of Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Education and Research Center. The main function of the base was to monitor other nations’ encrypted military communications, which helped Rogers gain experience for his current job as commander of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and of the U.S. 10th Fleet at Fort Meade, Md.

Rogers’ confirmation hearings, at which he likely will get an earful of pointed questions from Senators about NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, are expected to begin sometime this month.

Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.