Central Security Service (CSS)


The Central Security Service (CSS) provides timely and accurate cryptologic support, knowledge, and assistance to the military cryptologic community. Established by presidential directive in 1972, CSS promotes full partnership between the NSA and the cryptologic elements of the Armed Forces, and teams with senior military and civilian leaders to address and act on critical military-related issues in support of national and tactical intelligence objectives. CSS coordinates and develops policy and guidance on the signals intelligence and cybersecurity missions of NSA/CSS to ensure military integration.

Combining NSA and CSS caused the Director, NSA to become dual-hatted as Chief, CSS and also created a more unified cryptologic effort. The principal advisor to Director, NSA/Chief CSS on military cryptologic issues is the Deputy Chief/CSS (DCH/CSS). The DCH/CSS oversees the function of the military cryptology system; manages and cultivates the partnerships between NSA/CSS and the Service Cryptologic Elements; and ensures military capabilities.

In 1996, Director, NSA/Chief, CSS U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Kenneth A. Minihan approved the creation of a CSS seal designed to represent the combined commands. Updated in 2022, the seal now displays all six of the Service Cryptologic Components, which are comprised of the United States Fleet Cyber Command, the United States Marine Corps Director of Intelligence, the United States Army's Intelligence and Security Command, the 16th Air Force representing both United States Air Force and United States Space Force services, and the US Coast Guard Deputy Assistant Commandant for Intelligence. Each are equally balanced around a six point star on which is centered the symbol of NSA/CSS, who provides the funding, direction, and guidance to all of America's SIGINT activities. Learn more about NSA/CSS seals.