General Counsel Overview


NSA's Office of General Counsel (OGC) is responsible for ensuring that the legal authorities that NSA has been asked to execute on behalf of the nation's security are properly and reliably discharged.

The rule of law plays a vital role in not only the conduct of NSA's operations, but also the security of our nation. One of NSA's core values is respect for the law, and we are committed to ensuring that our missions are grounded in adherence to the U.S. Constitution and compliance with the U.S. laws, regulations, and policies that govern its activities.

NSA OGC is a component of the Department of Defense's (DoD) Defense Legal Services Agency (DLSA) and reports to the DoD General Counsel. In addition to providing legal services directly to our agency clients, the office also coordinates closely with the Agency's overseers at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice, and with its counterparts around the Intelligence Community and across all three branches of Government.

NSA OGC employs more than 100 attorneys, who function in a manner comparable to corporate in-house counsel. The office's structure, however, has been adapted to the operations of an intelligence agency. For example, OGC provides legal advice on a wide array of legal topics, including intelligence operations, procurement, research and development, information security, environmental law, patents, telecommunications, security matters, legislation, employment and personnel issues, and ethics. OGC attorneys also protect NSA interests in litigation involving NSA activities, personnel, and information.

NSA Office of General Counsel

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NSA OGC is supervised by the General Counsel and Principal Deputy General Counsel. The Deputy General Counsel for Operations oversees the Operational Authorities and Operational Support practice groups. The Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Management oversees the Litigation; Administrative Law & Ethics; and Acquisition, Research & Technology practice groups. Finally, the Associate General Counsel for Law & Policy oversees the Legislation practice group and attorneys in certain policy positions. Each legal practice group is headed by an Associate General Counsel.