National Security Agency
The National Security Agency is the Nation's cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence information. A high technology organization, NSA is on the frontiers of communications and data processing. It is also one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research within the Government.
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.
NSA conducts 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.
As part of the IA mission, NSA conducts research on new technologies that may be used to protect information technology systems. For several years, NSA has been researching biometric technologies that may be useful to prevent unauthorized access to critical systems.