US Attempt To Improve Coordination Among The Service Cryptologic Elements
A separate SIGINT and communications security organization, or Service Cryptologic Element (SCE), existed for the US Army, Navy, and Air Force. Some of the differences were quite appropriate to support of the military operations of the particular service; the Air Force would be interested ELINT about =air defense radars that a bomber might take in attacking the Soviet Union over a polar route, while the Navy would be more interested in coastal air defense radars. The Army would want to be able to recognize hostile artillery fire control radars, and also how to do tactical direction finding, traffic analysis, and field-level cryptanalysis against opposing ground forces.
All of these services also had capabilities to provide national-level intelligence more appropriate for NSA's mission than for support to military operation. The Army had both fixed and mobile intercept equipment appropriate for long-term listening to ground stations, while the Air Force and Navy could probe new foreign electronic systems as part of national-level intelligence goals.
Even though NSA proper had been formed in 1952, the activities of the Service Cryptologic Agencies were not well coordinated. The Air Force and Navy, for example, might duplicate efforts in probing North Korean radars. Air Force RIVET JOINT RC-135 aircraft collected COMINT of interest to all the services. Navy P2 and P3 electronic capabilities also collected data of relevance to the military as a whole.
Bamford described the first effort to organize the SCEs was to create a "fourth branch" of the military, which triggered intense bureaucratic resistance from the services. A compromise was reached by creating the Central Security Service (CSS). The Director of the NSA (DIRNSA) acquired a "second hat" as the commander of CSS. Just as the services rotated the DIRNSA assignment among their three-star (or three-star eligible) intelligence officers, the actual chief of CSS, reporting to DIRNSA, was a two-star post that also rotated among the services. Bamford describes CSS in different ways. At one point, he speaks of "a former senior NSA official who described it as 'a half-assed, last-minute job' designed to destroy the original fourth-service proposal." Later in the same book, however, draws attention, however, to the almost unparalleled power vested in the DIRNSA through NSCID No. 6, revised on 17 February 1972, "All instructions issued by the Director under the authority provided in this paragraph shall be mandatory, subject only to appeal to the Secretary of Defense." Thus, the DIRNSA is able to bypass "not only the Joint Chiefs, but even the secretaries of the branches" giving him his own SIGINT Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.
The idea of a fourth service branch for SIGINT is not unheard of; "NSA's Canadian cousin, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) relies entirely upon the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System (CFSRS) for all raw SIGINT collection. CFSRS has been a part of the Canadian Forces Information Operations Group (CFIOG) since the latter was established 08 May 1998." Clive uses the example of the Navy SCE, as of 2002, as showing the significance of organizations under CSS control: "the Naval Security Group (NSG) might be the best indicator of the significance of the military contribution to NSA's SIGINT efforts. According to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), the NSG is responsible for "Signals Security matters and, for Data Link Vulnerability Assessment Methodology within the Navy Vulnerability Assessment Program." The Naval Security Group Command (NSGC) "coordinates with, tasks as appropriate, and appraises the efforts of commands and offices of the Department of the Navy and NSA/Central Security Service in the fulfillment of Navy logistics support requirements, as directed by the Secretary of Defense. It also participates in NSA studies as required." The cryptologic staff "work with some of the most sophisticated and complex systems the Navy has to offer in performance of their mission." NSGC's Commander "reports to the Chief, Central Security Service (CSS) as the Navy Element Commander of the CSS and performs cryptologic functions at the National level as the Commander of the Navy's Service Cryptologic Element (SCE)." Considering just NSG's structure, naval SIGINT, and by inference all military SIGINT, does not appear to be a mainly nominal entity. Certainly, with the information overload that the Internet has brought, even for NSA, they can use all the help they can get."
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