Central Security Service
The Central Security Service (CSS) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense, established in 1972 by a Presidential Directive to promote full partnership between the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Service Cryptologic Elements (SCE) of the United States Armed Forces in the field of signals intelligence.
The blue background of the CSS emblem represents "fidelity" and "steadfastness", with the symbols for the cryptologic service elements provided shown clockwise from top right as follows: Army Intelligence and Security Command, United States Marine Corps, Naval Security Group, United States Coast Guard and Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency with the symbol of the NSA/CSS in the center.
According to James Bamford, NSA/CSS was initially conceived as a separate "fourth service" beside the three U.S. armed services. The latter resisted this idea, and therefore the CSS was founded as an inter-service organization. The day-to-day work of the CSS is to capture enemy signals (radar, telemetry, radio/satellite communications) using the means of the involved service. For example, the Navy has special submarines for tapping undersea cables; the Air Force operates aircraft with sophisticated antennas and processing gear to listen to enemy radar and radio; and on the ground, the Army operates similar eavesdropping equipment.
Special Collections Service
The Special Collections Service (SCS) is a group within the Central Security Service that is not officially recognized. Its purpose is to put sophisticated eavesdropping equipment--from bugs to parabolic antennas--in difficult-to-reach places. It also attempts to target for recruitment key foreign communications personnel such as database managers, systems administrators, and IT specialists.
The Central Security Service was established by Presidential Directive in 1972 to promote full partnership between the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Service Cryptologic Elements (SCE) of the United States Armed Forces. The SCS facility is located in Beltsville, Maryland.
The specialized intelligence gathering capabilities of the Special Collections Service include:
- Clandestine operations involving surveillance and penetration of target facilities, including "black bag" style operations.
- Cryptographic side channel and key recovery attacks involving EMSEC and COMSEC specialties.
- Covert communication capture and relay of target information.
- Operation of unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and perimeter penetration.
The combination of Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency resources are used to cover the requisite speciality skills tasked of this agency into a single clandestine intelligence organization that falls under director of NSA and secretary of defense oversight. Given the nature of post 9/11 counter terrorism strategies employed by the United States of America the operations of the Special Collections Service have experienced significant growth in scale and complexity.
- Central Security Service insignia, NSA/CSS website
- History of the Central Security Service, FAS
- Bamford, James (September 16, 2008). The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-52132-4.
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