of the IC
Members of the IC
Relationships with Other Government Organizations
Security Agency (NSA) is the nation’s cryptologic organization
and as such, coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized
activities to produce foreign intelligence information and
protect US information systems. A high-technology organization,
NSA is on the frontiers of communications and information
technology. NSA is also one of the most important centers
of foreign language analysis and research within the US Government.
The Agency is
completely dedicated to this business and therefore the entire organization
is considered to be a Community member.
NSA has two
foreign signals for national foreign intelligence and counterintelligence
purposes—a capability called signals intelligence or SIGINT.
solutions, products and services, and conduct defensive information
operations, to achieve information assurance for information
infrastructures critical to US national security interests—a
capability referred to as information assurance or IA.
The ability to understand the secret communications of our foreign
adversaries while protecting our own communications -- a capability
in which the United States leads the world -- gives our nation a
(SIGINT) is a unique discipline with a long and storied past. SIGINT's
modern era dates to World War II, when the U.S. broke the Japanese
military code and learned of plans to invade Midway Island. This
intelligence allowed the U.S. to defeat Japan's superior fleet.
The use of SIGINT is believed to have directly contributed to shortening
the war by at least one year. Today, SIGINT continues to play an
important role in maintaining the superpower status of the United
As the world
becomes more and more technology-oriented, the Information Assurance
(IA) mission becomes increasingly challenging. This
mission involves protecting all classified and sensitive information
that is stored or sent through U.S. Government equipment. IA
professionals go to great lengths to make certain that Government
systems remain impenetrable. This support spans from the highest
levels of U.S. Government to the individual warfighter in the field.
one of the U.S. Government's leading research and development programs.
Some of the Agency's R&D projects have significantly advanced
the state of the art in the scientific and business worlds. NSA's
early interest in cryptanalytic research led to the first large-scale
computer and the first solid-state computer, predecessors to the
modern computer. NSA pioneered efforts in flexible storage capabilities,
which led to the development of the tape cassette. NSA also made
ground-breaking developments in semiconductor technology and remains
a world leader in many technological fields.
Who is the
NSA employs the country's premier codemakers and codebreakers. It
is said to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the United
States and perhaps the world. Its mathematicians contribute directly
to the two missions of the Agency: designing cipher systems that
will protect the integrity of U.S. information systems and searching
for weaknesses in adversaries' systems and codes.
the world change rapidly, and great emphasis is placed on staying
ahead of these changes with employee training programs. The National
Cryptologic School is indicative of the Agency's commitment to professional
development. The school not only provides unique training for the
NSA workforce, but it also serves as a training resource for the
entire Department of Defense. NSA sponsors employees for bachelor
and graduate studies at the Nation's top universities and colleges,
and selected Agency employees attend the various war colleges of
the U.S. Armed Forces.
NSA was established
by Presidential directive in 1952 to provide signals intelligence
and communications security activities of the Government. Since
then, the NSA has gained the responsibility for information systems
security and operations security training. The Central Security
Service (CSS) was established in 1972 to provide cryptologic activities
within the military and thereby a more unified DoD cryptologic effort.
The NSA/CSS is also a combat support agency of the DoD.
The NSA Work
Force. Most NSA/CSS employees, both civilian and military, are
headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, centrally located between
Baltimore and Washington, DC. The NSA work force consists of highly
talented military and civilian members with a wide array of skills
and expertise: mathematicians, physicists, cryptanalysts, intelligence
analysts, linguists, computer scientists, and engineers. This work
force, combined with NSA’s nationwide strategic alliance with a
consortium of contractors and academia, has been the key to all
past successes and remains the foundation for the future.
Challenges. NSA continues to be challenged by an increasingly
dynamic set of customer demands: transnational terrorism, narcotics
trafficking, organized crime, counterintelligence, alien smuggling,
asymmetric threats, and international disputes. Our military forces
are more likely to be involved in coalition warfare, regional conflicts,
peacekeeping operations, and nontraditional operations than in the
past. At the same time, the rapid and unfettered growth of global
information technology makes both of the Agency’s missions harder—and
more important—than ever. To meet these emerging challenges, NSA
has embarked on an ambitious corporate strategy to transform its
operations to a service-based architecture that includes a re-engineered
cryptologic system with interoperability across the Community and
common connectivity with customers. This mandate for change firmly
establishes SIGINT and IA as major contributors in ensuring
information superiority of US warfighters and policymakers.
A Proud Tradition,
a Bright Future. The National Security Agency has a proud tradition
of serving the nation. NSA has been credited with preventing or
significantly shortening military conflicts, thereby saving lives
of US military and civilian personnel. NSA gives the nation a decisive
edge in diplomatic and economic interactions with other nations,
for countering terrorism, and for helping stem the flow of narcotics
into our country. NSA has been a premier information agency of the
industrial age, and, through ongoing modernization and cutting edge
research, will continue to be a premiere knowledge agency of the
New at NSA