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What is NSA's role in U.S. cybersecurity?

NSA's role in U.S. cybersecurity includes its primary information assurance mission: serving as the National Manager for National Security Systems. National Security Systems include U.S. systems that contain classified information or are otherwise critical to U.S. military or intelligence missions.

What does NSA do as the National Manager for National Security Systems? NSA performs a number of functions that help the Government protect and defend those systems, such as approving standards, techniques, systems, and equipment related to the security of National Security Systems.

Additionally, NSA is uniquely positioned to contribute to U.S. cybersecurity because it also has a foreign signals intelligence mission. The two missions complement one another, enhancing the agency's ability to detect and prevent cyber threats. NSA employs experts in signals intelligence, information security, and computer network defense and exploitation. Their work gives NSA end-to-end insights into malicious cyber activity, the activities of hostile foreign powers, and cyber best practices. This expertise is often called on by partners across the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community to help the government mitigate threats and secure networks.

Finally, NSA works to advance the state of cybersecurity by partnering with industry and academia through research efforts such as the NSA Technology Transfer Program, and the Science of Security Initiative. NSA also helps develop the skills of the next generation of cyber professionals through programs like the NSA Cyber Exercise (NCX), and the Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity. For more, see NSA's Information Assurance, and Research pages.

How can I protect myself?

Implementing practices like those in the Department of Homeland Security's Stop.Think.Connect™ initiative will help reduce the risk to your online security from malicious cyber actors.