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Cryptanalysis/Signals Analysis

Cryptanalysis and Signals Analysis are core technical disciplines necessary for NSA to accomplish its mission and provide critical intelligence to the Nation's leaders. This intelligence may be used to combat terrorism or invent ground-breaking technology solutions.


Cryptanalysis is the analytic investigation of an information system with the goal of illuminating hidden aspects of that system. It encompasses any systematic analysis aimed at discovering features in, understanding aspects of, or recovering hidden parameters from an information system.

Cryptanalysis is one of the core technical disciplines necessary for the NSA to accomplish its mission and provide critical intelligence to the Nation's leaders, and the need for Cryptanalysts will remain constant in our ever-changing global environment.

No specific major is targeted for Cryptanalysis; NSA hires people with technical and non-technical degrees, ranging from Mathematics to Music, Engineering to History, and Computer Programming to Chemistry.

Cryptanalysis Development Program (CADP)
Applicants for Cryptanalysis are placed in the Cryptanalysis Development Program (CADP), which is designed to produce professional Cryptanalysts. CADP participants attend formal classes, receive technical training from experienced Cryptanalysts, and rotate to various job assignments throughout NSA. Job-related courses at local universities and through private industry are funded; employees may also qualify for programs that provide for part-time or full-time college study while continuing to receive a full salary.

Signals Analysis

Signals Analysis is a cutting-edge technical discipline that seeks to recover, understand, and derive intelligence from foreign signals. Signals Analysts must use their background in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Engineering to analyze, understand, and exploit the advanced signals that NSA targets use to communicate.

At NSA, Signals Analysts use the latest in computing technology and laboratory signal measurement and test equipment, as well as high power workstations and supercomputers, which can be used to develop their own hardware and software tools for solving analytic tasks.

Extensive in-house classroom and on-the-job training is offered to both new hires and experienced employees as part of their continuing career development.

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Date Posted: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Modified: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Reviewed: Jan 15, 2009