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The National Security Agency is responsible for providing foreign Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) to our nation's policy-makers and military forces. SIGINT plays a vital role in our national security by providing America's leaders with critical information they need to defend our country, save lives, and advance U.S. goals and alliances globally.
What IS SIGINT?
SIGINT is intelligence derived from electronic signals and systems used by foreign targets, such as communications systems, radars, and weapons systems. SIGINT provides a vital window for our nation into foreign adversaries' capabilities, actions, and intentions.
NSA's SIGINT mission is specifically limited to gathering information about international terrorists and foreign powers, organizations, or persons. NSA produces intelligence in response to formal requirements levied by those who have an official need for intelligence, including all departments of the Executive Branch of the United States Government. For information on how NSA protects Americans' right to privacy, see the FAQs section.
A Career in SIGINT
The SIGINT mission must keep pace with advances in the high speed, multi-functional technologies of today's information age. The ever-increasing volume, velocity and variety of today's signals make the production of relevant and timely intelligence for military commanders and national policy-makers more challenging and exciting than ever. While modern telecommunications technology poses significant challenges to SIGINT, the many languages used in the nations and regions of the world that are of interest to our military and national leaders require NSA to maintain a wide variety of language capabilities as well. Indeed, successful SIGINT depends on the skills of language professionals, mathematicians, analysts, and engineers, to name just a few.
The critical thinking and vitality required to accomplish our strategic goals depend on a diverse workforce, divergent points of view, and a fully inclusive environment. NSA has a strong tradition of employing dedicated, highly qualified people deeply committed to maintaining the Nation's security. While technology will obviously continue to be a key element of our future, NSA recognizes that technology is only as good as the people creating it and the people using it.
"Signals intelligence provides our national policymakers and military leaders with crucial information that directly contributes every day to the security of our nation and of U.S. allies. NSA's pledge to the American people is this: we will never stop striving to counter those who would do harm to our fellow citizens, while honoring and abiding by the laws of our great land and ensuring we act with the utmost respect for the protection of the civil liberties and privacy rights that we as Americans hold so dear."
Teresa H. Shea
Date Posted: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Modified: Sep 9, 2011 | Last Reviewed: Sep 9, 2011