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Inside NSA | Application and Hiring Process | New Employee Benefits | Relocation

Inside NSA
  1. What is the NSA mission?
  2. Can you describe the NSA culture?
  3. What career growth is there at NSA?
  4. What is an intern and how does the program work?
  5. Can I volunteer to work at NSA?
  6. Is NSA committed to diversity?
  7. Does NSA have a Drug-Free Workplace Policy?
  8. Does NSA Offer travel opportunities?
Application and Hiring Process
  1. How long will my resume stay on file?
  2. I am interested in more than one career field. Should I submit a resume for each position I am interested in?
  3. How do I update my resume after submitting my application?
  4. Do you have to be a U.S. Citizen to apply?
  5. What about dual citizenship?
  6. How long is the typical application process?
  7. What is the minimum age for employment? Is there an age limit?
  8. Are there physical requirements for applying?
  9. What can I expect during the hiring process?
  10. What more should I know about Security?
  11. How long does a clearance take?
  12. What does a background investigation entail?
  13. Is there a preference given to former military?
  14. How can I verify my Veterans' Preference eligibility?
  15. What can I tell my family and friends about my application process with NSA?
  16. Is NSA an Equal Opportunity Employer?
  17. Who can I contact if I have questions regarding the Application and Hiring Process?
New Employee Benefits
  1. What is the salary structure like?
  2. What training is required?
Relocation
  1. Where can I find information about the Baltimore-Washington area?
  2. What services does the Agency provide?
  3. What is the DoD National Relocation Program (DNRP)?
  4. Where can I find information about a place to live near Fort Meade?

Working at NSA
  1. How do I get to NSA?
  2. What is parking like at NSA? Are there permits?

Inside NSA

1. What is the NSA mission?

    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. For additional information about the Agency's mission and history, please visit the Life at NSA section.

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2. Can you describe the NSA culture?

    NSA's culture is founded on a long, rich history of providing behind-the-scenes, critical, signals intelligence and information assurance to the Nation. It is built on highly technical, motivated, mission-oriented, 'get the job done' civilian and military employees who know they are defending the Nation every day, providing key intelligence to the U.S. government, ranging from the frontline warfighter to the President of the United States. The dynamic mission to support the U.S.'s tactical or strategic interests requires NSA's men and women to be flexible, innovative, dedicated, technology-driven, educationally strong, achievement-focused, crisis-oriented, and forward-leaning to anticipate and report on world events and protect the U.S. from harm.

    The NSA culture is based on four guiding principles:
    1. NSA is a national asset, a national treasure that provides information superiority to the U.S. and the free world.
    2. NSA has a very rich heritage and its contributions have shortened wars, saved lives, and prevented conflicts. Additionally, some of the technology invented, such as supercomputers, cassette tapes, and biometrics have even created or contributed to new industries and businesses.
    3. NSA is a responsible citizen. The workforce is proud, patriotic, knows how important NSA's mission is to the Nation, understands the importance of abiding by U.S. law, is environmentally sensitive to protecting its land and people, and contributes many volunteer hours and services to the local community.
    4. NSA is an agency in transition. Due to the rapid technological growth, exploding worldwide information, global economy dynamics, and changing demographics, NSA is partnering with academia and industry, and aggressively staffing and growing a new cryptologic workforce for the 21st century.

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3. What career growth is there at the NSA?

    The ability and potential for flexible career growth is one of NSA's major strengths and benefits that both attracts and retains its excellent and highly-skilled workforce, and differentiates NSA from many other companies or agencies. It is often described as the 'ability to move around within the Agency'. There are many types and options for growth opportunities at NSA in the technical, support, and management career fields. As one advances from entry level, whether from the high school, college, or experienced level, there are many developmental choices an individual may make depending on career or life priorities, interests, and skill level. These choices depend on the size and depth of the career field itself, and the availability of open positions or formal developmental programs at the time of the search. Opportunities may range from naturally progressive assignments with increased authority/responsibility, long term training or teaching at universities, taking a field assignment within the U.S. or at overseas sites, representing NSA while working at other local federal agencies, performing critical time-sensitive 24/7 intelligence operations, being part of an NSA or multi-Agency short term special project or taskforce, or perhaps transitioning to a new career field altogether. The possibilities are almost endless and you will find that almost every Agency employee has enjoyed, and taken advantage of, NSA's encouragement and flexibility to 'move around within the Agency'.

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4. What is an intern and how does the program work?

    An NSA intern program (not to be confused with temporary summer positions for college students usually called 'internships') is normally a 3-year career development program designed to develop highly-qualified, professional, full-time, entry-level personnel by completing a combination of experiential, rotational assignments and skill-related internal National Cryptologic School and/or external training courses (may include graduate courses). A Skill Community Director manages each intern program and the goal of the program is to provide a rapid and broad professional skill and experience foundation for relatively new professionals, in an intensive three-year period. Upon program completion, the individual will have obtained broad career field experience in three to six major areas, obtained training and knowledge from numerous training/educational courses, received extensive coaching and mentoring from senior career field professionals, and will provide the Agency with a highly trained, relatively new, well-rounded professional ready to continue their career with progressively challenging assignments.

    Entry into an intern program is extremely competitive and generally restricted to entry-level external hires, although intern positions are sometimes also open to onboard personnel. Current intern programs include Intelligence Analysis, Cryptanalysis, Information Assurance, Signals Analysis, Computer Science, and Global Network Analysis. Degree types sought for most of these programs are technical and usually focus on electrical or computer engineering, computer science, mathematics, or physics. The Intelligence Analysis program emphasizes majors in International Studies (e.g., studies in Asian-Pacific, Middle East, or Far-East) and Computer Science.


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5. Can I volunteer to work at the NSA?

    We at NSA appreciate your interest in us. While NSA is not a volunteer organization, and unfortunately cannot accept offers of help from the general public, we fully understand your desire to help. If you wish to join us in our mission, we encourage you to submit your resume. This is the first step in our formal employment process.

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6. Is NSA committed to diversity?

    NSA is committed to effectively managing diversity as a business imperative. Our threat environment and our customer base are becoming more diverse, as is our employee base. In order to meet our goal of making the National Security Agency and Central Security Service more aware of itself and its role in national security, more agile in its ability to respond to challenges and opportunities, and more collaborative with its U.S. government and foreign partners, we must create a workforce that has a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, and points of view. To fully realize our potential to provide and protect national security as individuals, teams, and as an Agency, we must capitalize on the rich diversity of knowledge, skills, abilities, backgrounds, and perspectives of our workforce. National security and diversity go hand-in-hand as essential partners in the interest of global peace.

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7. Does NSA have a Drug-Free Workplace Policy?

    Yes. Employees of and applicants to NSA are subject to random urinalysis testing in accordance with NSA/CSS Policy 4-1, 'NSA/CSS Drug Abuse and Civilian Drug Deterrence Policy,' and Executive Order 12564 'Drug-free Federal Workplace'. To read the Executive Order, please refer to: http://www.opm.gov/employment_and_benefits/worklife/healthwellness/eap/drug-free.asp. In addition, employees must not use illegal drugs or misuse prescription medications. During the pre-employment applicant process, a urine test may be required to detect the presence of illegal or controlled substances in an applicant's system. Positive test results or refusal to be tested will be considered in determining an applicant's eligibility for employment and may be the basis for denial of employment.

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8. Does NSA Offer travel opportunities?

    Field assignments away from NSA headquarters are available for many employees. Locations include overseas and U.S. sites, as well as local assignments in the Maryland/DC/Northern Virginia area. Certain opportunities also exist for employees to live and work in our Georgia, Texas, Hawaii, or Colorado locations.

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Application and Hiring Process

1. How long will my resume stay on file?

    Resumes are kept for six months.

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2. I am interested in more than one career field. Should I submit a resume for each position I am interested in?

    You can submit a resume for each position or use the same resume. Your skills/qualifications will be matched against all available openings. Using this Website, choose the job opening(s) that best matches your qualifications, click on the related Apply Online link, copy and paste your resume, complete the application, and click the "Submit Final" button. Please ensure that your resume accurately reflects all work experience with complete dates (mm/dd/yy) of employment as well as your skills and abilities. Each of these areas is reviewed closely as part of the evaluation process.

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3. How do I update my resume after submitting my application?

    Using the Website, choose the job opening(s) that you applied to, click on the related Apply Online link, click yes to the question regarding already applying, copy and paste your resume. The remainder of the application will be filled in as you previously entered. Click "Submit Final" once completed.

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4. Do you have to be a U.S. Citizen to apply?

    Yes. Only U.S. Citizens are eligible for NSA employment.

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5. What about dual citizenship?

    Individuals who hold dual citizenship are not precluded from applying for positions at NSA. Dual citizenship may raise questions about foreign preference or loyalty and will need to be resolved favorably before a clearance can be granted. These concerns can vary from case to case and will be addressed on an individual basis.

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6. How long is the typical application process?

    There is no "typical" application process time; however, an Applicant should expect that the process is considerably longer than normally experienced in private industry since every applicant is required to have a Top Secret/Special Intelligence clearance.

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7. What is the minimum age for employment? Is there an age limit?

    The minimum age for employment as a High School Work Study (HSWS) is 16 years of age (by August 31st following your junior year in high school). To become an NSA Police Officer, you must be at least 21 years of age. All other positions have a minimum age requirement of 18 years. There is not an age limit to work at NSA.

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8. Are there physical requirements for applying?

    There are some positions that have specific physical requirements. A current example is NSA Police (NSAP) Officer positions. Applicants processing for NSAP positions will be required to complete a functional fitness test consisting of a 1.5 mile run, 300 meter sprint, pushups, and sit-ups. The functional fitness test is included as part of the Applicant process since the Physical Efficiency Battery (PEB) is a required element of the training all NSA police officers must complete at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLECTC). All assessments are age and gender adjusted.

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9. What can I expect during the hiring process?

    The National Security Agency's hiring process addresses both employment suitability and security reliability issues. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for NSA employment. To obtain the security clearance for NSA employment, Applicants must satisfy the criteria found in Executive Order 12968 and Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) Number 704. Applicants can expect the hiring process to include, but not be limited to, psychological screening, a polygraph interview (view our polygraph brochure and video, The Truth About the Polygraph), and an extensive background investigation. Additionally, all Applicants and employees are subject to random drug testing in accordance with Executive Order 12564, September 15, 1986. We strongly recommend all responses to questions posed by representatives of the National Security Agency at any time during employment processing be complete, candid, and truthful.

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10. What more should I know about Security?

    NSA is a member of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC). We process and adjudicate security clearances based on federal law, executive orders, and DoD and IC Directives. Our best word of advice is to be completely candid during the security process. Your cooperation in this regard will help ensure that the process goes more smoothly and quickly. This begins with completing all the security forms accurately and honestly.

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11. How long does a clearance take?

    The clearance process can be lengthy. Each Applicant is unique in terms of life experience and background. Factors include the location and number of investigative interviews required (i.e., a person with several employers and residences will likely take longer to investigate than a person with only one residence or employer during the period of investigation).

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12. What does a background investigation entail?

    The background investigation helps determine the Applicant's honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, discretion, and unquestioned loyalty to the United States. During the background investigation, previous and current employment, education, and residence are verified; and interviews are conducted with knowledgeable sources such as friends, neighbors, supervisors, and co-workers. In addition, credit and police checks are conducted to ensure the Applicant meets the high personnel security standards for access to Sensitive Compartmented Information. A personal interview with each Applicant is conducted to review the security forms completed and discuss the required topics necessary to help NSA adjudicate the Applicant's eligibility for a security clearance.

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13. Is there a preference given to former military?

    Veterans' Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over non-preference eligible applicants but is not a guarantee of employment. Per the Veterans' Preference Act of 1944 as amended, the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 2108, other sections of title 5 United States Code, and DODI Number 1400.25, V2005; NSA is required to grant priority in selection to qualified veterans with 5 or 10-Point Preference over non-preference eligibles with substantially equal qualifications of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Applicants must provide supporting documentation to receive Veterans' Preference and may do so at any time during the hiring process.

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14. How can I verify my Veterans' Preference eligibility?


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15. What can I tell my family and friends about my application process with NSA?

    We request that you use discretion when discussing your application for employment. You may tell family members or close friends, otherwise we ask that you simply state that you have applied for a government position with the DoD. We also suggest that you refrain from discussing details of your employment processing on social networking sites.

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16. Is NSA an Equal Opportunity Employer?

    All Applicants for employment with NSA are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a parent.

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17. Who can I contact if I have questions regarding the Application and Hiring Process?

    You may contact the NSA Customer Care line at 1-866-NSA-HIRE (1-866-672-4473) or email customercare@NSA.gov.

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New Employee Benefits

1. What is the salary structure like?

    NSA offers competitive salaries that are commensurate with a candidate's education and experience. NSA employees, in certain circumstances, may also be eligible to receive overtime compensation, holiday pay, night differential, Sunday premium pay, bonuses, and other allowances.

    Below are entry-level salaries (including locality pay) for several different skill fields. (Entry-level is defined as having a Bachelor's Degree or equivalent work experience.)

    Language Analysis & Intelligence Analysis $42,209
    Computer Science $55,293 *
    Mathematics $51,894 *
    Computer/Electrical Engineering $56,375*

    * These salaries reflect those offered on premium pay scales, which require completion of specific degrees and course requirements.


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2. What training is required?

    The training required depends on the requirements of each position, along with the skills, education, and experience of the individual. It is also the mutual determination, between the hiring manager and the new employee, of what internal/external training and experiences they believe are the best combination to develop the person and make him/her more productive.

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Relocation

1. Where can I find information about the Baltimore-Washington area?

    The State of Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development sponsors a web site that provides useful information about the Baltimore and Washington, DC area. Their web address is: http://www.choosemaryland.org/. Under the section "Orientation to Maryland" there is a Community Profiles area that is full of facts for Maryland and its counties. If you prefer, you may contact them toll free on 1-888-ChooseMD (1-888-246-6763).

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2. What services does the Agency provide?

    WorkLife4you, and agency paid benefit, provides information and referrals and detailed neighborhood profiles to help you and your family explore your options, relocate, and settle into your new community.

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3. What is the DoD National Relocation Program (DNRP)?

    DNRP is a relocation service provided to eligible (No-Break) and authorized DoD civilian employees to assist them with selling their homes at the prior duty station and locating housing appropriate to their needs at the new duty station. For more information on the program, go to http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/dnrp.htm or call 1-800-344-2501.

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4. Where can I find information about a place to live near Fort Meade?

    A suggestion would be to conduct a search using your favorite Internet search engine. Some keywords to consider would be: Baltimore, Washington, DC, apartment, home, real estate, Fort Meade, and Maryland.


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Working at NSA

1. How do I get to NSA?

    NSA is conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, off the Baltimore/Washington Parkway (MD-295) in Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland. There is no public transportation to the NSA Campus. NSA is a secured facility and entry is only permitted for authorized visitors.

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2. What is parking like at NSA? Are there permits?

    NSA has sufficient parking for employees and visitors. No permits are required for general parking; however, a permit is required to park in spaces designated for persons with disabilities and work-related or medical-related parking. There are signs that clearly mark all designated parking areas. Uncleared visitors must park outside of the fence line.

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Date Posted: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Modified: Jun 18, 2012| Last Reviewed: Jun 18, 2012

 
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