10 December 1997
These pages outline the National Security Agency/Central Security Service's
strategic plan for the 21st century, and how we intend to achieve our
goal: information superiority for America.
- Message from the Director
- Goal 1: Vital Information
- Goal 2: Military Operations
- Goal 3: Policy Makers
- Goal 4: Technology
- Goal 5: People & Processes
- Our Proud Heritage
KENNETH A. MINIHAN
Lieutenant General, USAF
Director, NSA/Chief, CSS
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) has a
proud tradition of serving the nation -- a world performance organization
by any standard. The innovative ideas and concepts of our predecessors in
the 1950s and 1960s crafted an architecture that supported the national strategy
through the 1980s and helped win the Cold War. Today, we are at a critical
turning point in our nation's history, not unlike that immediately after
World War II. The decisions we make today will shape our nation's strategy
and future for years to come.
The post-Cold War era is characterized by a diffusion of power, geopolitical
uncertainties, and technology-driven change. An information revolution is
sweeping the world, forcing change as radical as that caused by development
of the atomic bomb. Just as control of industrial technology was key to military
and economic power during the past two centuries, control of information
technology will be key to power in the 21st Century.
The Information Age presents us with enormous challenges and opportunities.
Our core competencies are the same technologies needed to exploit and protect
information. However, we must reengineer our traditional approach to signals
intelligence and information systems security if we are to remain relevant
and play a leading role as key offensive and defensive components of a new
national effort dedicated to a single goal -- information superiority for
This strategic plan charts our course to achieve this noble end. No one will
work harder as a single team -- we will think in new ways and strengthen
our relationships with our customers and partners. We will employ the same
innovativeness, farsightedness, and exceptional dedication to duty that typified
our predecessors. Our guiding principle will be to provide and protect vital
information for our national leadership and joint warfighting teams -- on
time, anytime, anywhere -- GUARANTEED! I am confident we are prepared to
meet the challenges of the future.
One Team, One Mission
The NSA/CSS exists to protect the nation and serve others. We must
work collaboratively and corporately to anticipate and meet our customers'
needs. Our customers must know that they can count on us to provide them
with what they need, when they need it, and in a form they can use.
We pledge the following to our customers:
No one will work harder to defend and support the nation's interests.
No one will stand watch longer to prevent operational and technological surprise
against our nation and warfighters.
No one will do more to achieve interoperability with the Services and our
No one, bar none, will be more innovative in seeking the technological advantages
we will need to succeed in the 21st Century.
Together we form the bond as America's team.
Information Superiority for America
One Team, One Mission
Intelligence and information systems security have always complemented each
other. Intelligence gives us an information advantage over our adversaries
and competitors. Information systems security prevents others from gaining
a comparable advantage over us. The two functions serve as the offensive
and defensive squads of a team dedicated to a single goal - information
superiority for America and its Allies.
"Information superiority is the capability to collect, process, and
disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying
an adversary's ability to do the same."
From "Joint Vision
We give our Customers the decisive edge by providing and protecting vital
NSA/CSS is the nation's cryptologic organization. We are the world's best.
We give our customers the decisive edge by providing and protecting vital
information...from the battlefield to the White House. We protect the security
of U.S. signals and information systems and provide intelligence information
derived from those of our adversaries. We work with our customers to gain
a better understanding of their information requirements, and then provide
them the best possible cryptologic products and services.
"...the security of information systems and networks (is) the major security
challenge of this decade and possibly the next century...there is insufficient
awareness of the grave risks we face in this arena."
Joint Security Commission
"US intelligence capabilities are critical instruments of our national
power and integral to implementing our national security strategy."
We take pride in our people and care about their well-being. Our skills and
competence are second to none. Our adaptability and diversity allow us to
excel in many different environments and to meet a wide variety of challenges
in a rapidly changing world. Our forward thinking, innovativeness, and
willingness to take risks keep us at the forefront of our business.
We work together as a team, and value the unique contributions of each
individual. Teamwork, effective partnerships, and relentless commitment to
exceed our customers' expectations keep us in the lead.
We are driven by our customers' needs. We make decisions based on information
and analysis, and measure our progress and results to ensure continuous
We are accountable for our actions, and recognize our obligations under the
Constitution and the laws of the United States. We are committed to the highest
standards of ethical behavior.
Goal 1 - Vital Information
Guarantee Vital Information for our Customers
Knowledge is power in the Information Age. The nation that can observe what
is happening, orient itself to understand the real dynamics of a situation,
decide what to do, and then act on that decision quicker than an adversary
gains the information advantage. We will provide our customers the decisive
information advantage by providing and protecting their vital information
Provide the leadership to ensure the efficient operation of all cryptologic
functions of the U.S. Government.
Be the preferred source of actionable intelligence for policy makers and
military commanders. Decision makers will know that they can turn first to
NSA/CSS for timely, user-friendly, and reliable intelligence.
Be the preferred provider of information systems security solutions. We will
provide the leadership, trusted products, and services necessary to protect
national security and sensitive information.
Foster a broad zone of cooperation between government and industry. Our
objectives are to establish public key infrastructure technology and standards,
and expand collaboration on information system vulnerabilities.
Establish a center for technical excellence for information operations. The
center will improve indication and warning capabilities, and help achieve
information superiority by providing the technical expertise to exploit adversary
information and information systems while defending our own.
Examine adequacy of existing authorities for information age cryptology.
"...the threat to our information systems will grow in coming years as
the enabling technologies to attack these systems proliferate and more countries
and groups develop new strategies that incorporate such attacks."
Dr. John Deutch, former Director of Central Intelligence
Goal 2 - Military Operations
Ensure Dominant Battlespace Knowledge Through Integration of Cryptology with
The United States Cryptologic System (USCS) is a vital National resource
for the military decision maker. We will fully integrate the USCS in the
planning and conduct of military operations, whether for humanitarian or
lethal purposes. Dominant battlespace knowledge is essential if commanders
and their forces are to enjoy secure C4I networks; be kept out of harm's
way; and distinguish and exploit the adversary's operational environment.
Anticipate and satisfy the warfighter's intelligence needs -- on time, anytime,
anywhere, at the lowest possible classification.
Provide the full range of information systems security products and services
needed for battlespace security. These capabilities will deny an adversary
the information advantage, preventing him from effectively employing his
Improve our readiness as a Combat Support Agency to ensure that we can
effectively participate in joint and combined operations and exercises.
Cryptologic assets that integrate into military operations will also participate
in joint and combined exercises.
Ensure cryptologic systems are interoperable with those of the Services and
our Allies. We will develop the global connectivity that will allow the
warfighter to "plug in " anytime, anywhere in the performance of any mission.
Dominant Battlespace Knowledge is comprehensive awareness of all the
decision-relevant elements within a defined battlespace, and the ability
to predict, with very high confidence, nearterm enemy actions and combat
Goal 3 - Policy Makers
Enable Policy Makers to Promote Stability and Thwart Aggression Through
Integration of Cryptologic Support
We recognize the need to work with our policy customers to identify and
understand their cryptologic requirements. We will develop and provide
intelligence information and security products and services that are responsive,
timely, and useful upon receipt.
Embed cryptologic elements with our policy customers to ensure that we better
understand and anticipate their information needs.
Expand our collaboration with law enforcement agencies to improve support
to counterintelligence, nonproliferation, and transnational issues such as
narcotics trafficking, organized crime, and alien smuggling.
Continue to work closely with all policy customers and improve our
interoperability to ensure that tailored intelligence and security products
and services meet their specific information needs and timeliness requirements.
Expand "pull" dissemination capabilities to enable customers to initiate
realtime requests for data in response to emergent requirements to improve
Work with the intelligence community to develop interactive databases to
enable the policy maker to initiate a single request, search all available
community databases, and receive the requested data.
"Intelligence must...be integrated more closely with other functions
of government, such as law enforcement, to achieve shared
Report of the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States
Goal 4 - Technology
Remain the World's Cryptologic Leader by Sustaining Leading Edge Capability
in Key Technologies
NSA/CSS is recognized as the "class of the world" when it comes to cryptology.
There is none better. However, the rapid advance of technology presents a
continuous challenge. We must have continual infusion of new techniques and
ideas. Therefore, we will undertake a strategic technology initiative to
maintain our world-class leadership and technical health. Our strength will
continue to be our technology and our teamwork.
Remain preeminent in cryptology by enhancing our capability to forecast new
technologies. We will work closely with U.S. industry to help integrate
technology forecasts and assess the rate of market implementation.
Broaden collaborative partnerships with industry, academia, and other government
agencies to maximize the return from technology efforts. We must continue
to attract the best technical minds and take advantage of the expertise of
Focus entrepreneurial research and development efforts on breakthrough
capabilities. We must remain the leader in supercomputing and provide
supercomputing power to conduct research.
Expand our capability to model and simulate information operations.
Develop applications to leverage emerging technologies and sustain both our
offensive and defensive information warfare capabilities.
Goal 5 - People and Processes
Transform the Cryptologic Workforce, Processes and Infrastructure to Meet
the Emerging Challenges
Our people are our most important resource -- they are key to accomplishing
our mission. We must ensure they have the skills, processes, equipment, and
facilities to maximize their potential and meet the challenges of the 21st
Recruit and retain the best-qualified and diverse military and civilian personnel
Invest in our people through education, training and career development to
achieve and maintain required skill levels. Our overall occupational structure
will be skills-based and constantly tuned to mission requirements and achieve
Provide our workforce with the environment, systems, and facilities they
need and deserve to accomplish their jobs and support our customers.
Empower our workforce and encourage them to reengineer their processes to
improve efficiency and create value for our customers.
Foster an environment that values the contribution of every employee and
ensures fairness in all human resource systems and processes.
"We must reward the people and ideas that work..."
President Clinton and Vice President Gore
The National Security Agency was formed in November 1952, by President
Harry S. Truman as a separately organized agency within the Department of
Defense. From our early beginnings and through major world events (the Korean
and Vietnam conflicts, and Desert Storm) up to the present-day support to
United Nations peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, we have provided superb support
to our troops and decision makers.
Our efforts allow America to continue as the world leader. The NSA/CSS workforce
is dedicated to duty and committed to serving our customers. We do not seek
To those who made the ultimate sacrifice
National Cryptologic Museum