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News | Dec. 13, 2021

NSA 2021 Year in Review

In a year still largely defined by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NSA proved once again that no matter the global climate, the mission continues. So as we prepare to usher in 2022, it is critical to look back on the many accomplishments of our workforce during the past year.

NSA Welcomed Two New Directors
Arguably, among the most significant news shared this year was the new leaders of both our Cybersecurity and Research directorates.

Rob Joyce, a longtime member of the NSA family, took the reins of the Cybersecurity Directorate (CSD) shortly after Anne Neuberger joined the Biden Administration as Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology. He has worked at NSA since 1989, holding various leadership positions within both focus areas of NSA: the Cybersecurity and Signals Intelligence missions, and most recently serving as NSA special U.S. liaison officer in London.

The Research Directorate was pleased to welcome Gilbert “Gil” Herrera as their new director in early September, after nearly 40 years at Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia). Having previously served as Director of Laboratory for Physical Sciences 2015-2018, Mr. Herrera is a recognized leader within the Department of Defense and is well positioned to lead the Directorate in world-class scientific research.

NSA Celebrated the Power of Partnerships
Celebrating a 75-year alliance, the partnership between NSA and GCHQ predates even the formal founding of our organizations, and has served as a remarkable example of the strong bond between our nations. The relationship defines how we share communication, translation, analysis, and code breaking information, and has helped protect our countries and allies for decades.

Showcasing a key component of the partnership, the annual Cyber Management Review, now in its fourth year, is a collaborative forum between the leadership of the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, U.K. Strategic Command, and the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters. Supported by ongoing interactions across multiple levels of the organizations, it provides guidance for future military and intelligence efforts in the cyber domain.

Building on their longstanding relationship, NSA announced a new partnership with the National Cryptologic Foundation (NCF), reaffirming their mutual commitment to building a pipeline of the next generation of cryptography and cybersecurity experts.

Research Initiatives
For the 8th consecutive year, NSA hosted the Hot Topics on Science of Security conference, or HotSOS. This year welcoming a record 1,200 individuals registering to discuss the nexus of research and cybersecurity, participants represented a mix of government, academia, and industry from 36 countries. The three-day virtual event featured keynote presentations, student presentations, and robust discussions of works-in-progress.

This year also hallmarked the National Security Agency's Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS) launch of the LPS Qubit Collaboratory (LQC), a Quantum Information Science research center in support of the U.S. National Quantum Initiative. The LQC offers a mechanism for collaborative research between LPS and academia, industry, FFRDCs, and Government Laboratories.

NSA Demonstrates Holistic Commitment to a Better Work Environment
In July, CAREERS & the disABLED magazine selected the National Security Agency as the 2021 Public-Sector Employer of the Year, a testament to the Agency's continued commitment to providing equal employment opportunities and fostering a fair and equitable work environment.
By constantly developing new ways to improve its recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement of individuals with disabilities, the Agency established an initiative known as "the Big Six" to enhance the progress of building an exceptional workforce and culture. It focuses on: implementing fair personnel practices across the Agency; senior leader accountability; accessibility of facilities and usability of services; recruiting and hiring a diverse workforce; onboarding and mentoring; and developing a pipeline of diverse senior candidates.
NSA was further recognized during the Department of Defense (DoD) 41st Annual Disability Awards Ceremony in October. The virtual event honored the NSA as Best Intelligence Component and an Agency affiliate as a DoD 2021 Annual Disability Awards Outstanding Employee.
Proving that their commitment to fostering a better workplace is recognized as a holistic effort, NSA's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings, reforestation efforts, improvements to storm water infrastructure, and reclaimed water initiatives are just a few of the agency's growing list of environmental efforts towards ensuring a "greener" workplace.
No matter what 2022 brings, the NSA will continue to rise to the occasion, meeting the needs of the Nation while showing out commitment to biggest asset, our people.

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