On July 17, 1984, Lieutenant General Lincoln D. Faurer, the Director of the National Security Agency, asked the National Cryptologic School to produce a ‘popular history’ of the Agency aimed principally at new employees who perhaps were unaware of the past accomplishments of NSA. As the project evolved, the National Cryptologic School envisioned an informal collection of significant experiences from the Agency’s past which stressed NSA accomplishments as the best way to make new employees aware of the unique history of NSA and United States SIGINT and COMSEC efforts. At the same time the History and Publications Division was asked to compile a more formal one-volume study of NSA, stressing its organization, structure, mission and evolution. The two products, one produced by the School and the other by the History Office are complementary but separate. This is the National Cryptologic School’s contribution. The History Office study is to be published separately.
On November 27, 2021, The Black Vault filed a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) request to have this document further reviewed. Although previously released in 2007 to an unknown FOIA requester, it was redacted heavily in many sections.
In November of 2022, The Black Vault received a much less redacted version, which is available below.
On Watch: Profiles from the National Security Agency’s Past 40 Years, 1984 [112 Pages, 40MB]
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