Thank you.  I want to join Chairman McCain in welcoming Under Secretary Lettre and Admiral Rogers back to the committee, and thank them and those they lead for their service.  This is the third committee hearing focused on the encryption issue, which underscores the importance of this issue and its impact on national security.

The rapid growth of sophisticated end-to-end encryption applications and extremely secure physical access controls to smart phones and computers has an adverse impact on law enforcement agencies at all levels of government, and impairs the ability of the intelligence community and the Defense Department’s Cyber Command to detect and counter cyber threats to the nation.  At the same time, this security technology helps to protect individuals, corporations, and the government against cyber crime, espionage, terrorism, and aggression.

While FBI Director Comey has tirelessly stressed the danger of law enforcement “going dark,” respected national security experts, including General Mike Hayden, former Director of the CIA and NSA; Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security, have advised against compelling industry to ensure that the government can always get access to encrypted data.  These experts argue that cyber vulnerabilities are the greater threat to the public and national security.

The main problem for law enforcement at this juncture is gaining access to data on devices that are physically in the government’s possession.  For foreign intelligence collection, where physical access is rarely, if ever, applicable, the challenge is to overcome encryption of data in transit, or to gain remote access to devices when they are turned on and communicating.  The latter set of problems is not qualitatively new, and is perhaps more manageable.

In addition to encryption, another important area that I hope we are able to discuss today is the future of Cyber Command.  I understand the Administration is deliberating on whether it is the proper time to elevate Cyber Command to a unified command, and if, and under what conditions, the Administration should terminate the so-called “dual-hat” arrangement under which the Commander of Cyber Command serves also as the Director of NSA.  An additional issue is the discussion of whether the Director of NSA should be a civilian rather than a general officer.  While I know that it is likely difficult for our witnesses to discuss Administration deliberations in an open hearing, I would welcome any general thoughts or considerations you could offer on these important issues. 

Another area that I know is of interest to this committee, but again may be difficult to comment on publicly, is the several revelations of hacking of major computer systems in this country by outside actors.  Any information you can provide would be welcome.

Thank you again for your willingness to appear before this committee to discuss these important issues, and I look forward to your testimony.