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The Center for Cryptologic History (CCH)

The Center for Cryptologic History (CCH) keeps history alive by enhancing the knowledge and decision-making abilities of the intelligence community (IC). A critical asset, the CCH provides a historical and objective account of cryptologic history for the IC, the Department of Defense, other government agencies, academia, and the general public. Visit our Historical Publications page to view the historical publications available online.

At the CCH, we believe learning from the past can help improve future decision making. Through the National Cryptologic School (NCS), we offer numerous learning opportunities for intelligence professionals. These include a variety of history courses, seminars, illustrated lectures, and case studies. Our many publications, classified and unclassified, document the past and enable today's cryptologic professionals to benefit from a historical perspective as they tackle increasingly challenging missions.

Our calendar of special programs and events explores the impact of history on current issues and operations. Each year, the Schorreck Memorial Lecture brings a distinguished intelligence historian to NSA/CSS for a public presentation. Every two years, the CCH sponsors the Symposium on Cryptologic History. Our Scholar-in-Residence Program brings an outstanding academic historian to NSA/CSS for a year of research.

CCH staff consists of professional historians who are veterans of cryptologic operations. CCH can be reached at the address below:

  • National Security Agency
  • ATTN: Center for Cryptologic History
  • 9800 Savage Rd., Suite 6886
  • Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755

You can also send us an e-mail.


Symposium on Cryptologic History

The biennial Symposium on Cryptologic History is an occasion for historians (and others) to gather for reflection and debate on relevant and important topics from the cryptologic past. Regular participants include historians from the Center for Cryptologic History, the Intelligence Community, the defense establishment, the military services, scholars from American and foreign academic institutions, veterans of the cryptologic profession, graduate and undergraduate students, and the interested public. Past symposia have featured scholarship that set out new ways to consider our cryptologic heritage. The conference will provide many opportunities to interact with leading historians and other distinguished experts. We encourage an interdisciplinary approach. The mix of practitioners, scholars, and interested observers always guarantees a lively debate promoting an enhanced appreciation for past events. The Symposium typically occurs in October.

2019 Symposium on Cryptologic History

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) Center for Cryptologic History (CCH) and the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation (NCMF) invite proposals for papers to be presented at the 17th biennial Symposium on Cryptologic History which will take place October 17 - 18, 2019. The Symposium will be held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory's Kossiakoff Center in Laurel, Maryland. Following the Symposium on Saturday October 19th, attendees will be given an opportunity to tour the National Cryptologic Museum and participate in a workshop on researching cryptologic history sources.

The theme for the 2019 Symposium on Cryptologic History is "From Discovery to Discourse." Since 1990, the Symposium on Cryptologic History has served as an opportunity to present historical discoveries found in unclassified and declassified Intelligence Community records and engage in scholarly discussion about their significance to cryptologic history. All topics relevant to the history of cryptology, signals intelligence, technology, and national security are welcome. An interdisciplinary approach is encouraged. Topics anchored by anniversary events are traditionally well-received by attendees. Just two examples of significant anniversaries in 2019 include the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the British Government Code and Cypher School (now known as the Government Communications Headquarters or GCHQ) and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of NSA/CSS' predecessor, the Armed Forces Security Agency. Submissions from those who are new to the field, particularly graduate students, are particularly welcome. This will ensure the variety and diversity of exchange that has been the hallmark of this event.

2019 Call for Papers - More information on how to submit a paper for consideration at the 2019 Symposium on Cryptologic History