Headquartered in Mogadishu, NISA is tasked with firming up security. It is assisted in this capacity by AMISOM. According to the former Minister of State for the Presidency Abdulkadir Moallin Noor, the CIA also provided training to NISA officials during the latter agency's formative stages.
Among other deployments, NISA agents have conducted security operations against Al-Shabaab elements in the capital.
As of July 2014, the Gaashaan ("Shield") counterterrorism force constitutes a fundamental part of the National Intelligence and Security Agency. According to Somali government officials, it is a commando force trained by the United States. NISA associates indicate that Gaashaan consists of two units totaling 120 men.
Alpha Group is Gaashan's first component, and includes around 40 soldiers and 3 officers who were chosen from amongst 190 special Somali National Army troops. According to Somali defense officials, this unit received training in the United States between late 2009 and early 2010. U.S. anti-terrorism expert Derek Gannon indicates that the Alpha Group's training regimen includes counter-insurgency, counter-terror operation and executive-protecting, with an emphasis on quick reaction in an urban environment. The soldiers are also equipped with guns with night-vision scopes, among other modern military hardware.