252. Draft Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense–Comptroller (Moot) to Secretary of Defense Laird1


  • Establishment of a Central Security Service


By his 5 November 1971 memorandum on organization and management of the intelligence community,2 the President directed the establishment of a consolidated cryptologic command. This memorandum was subsequently amplified and clarified by the 1 December re-draft of National Security Council Directive No. 6.3 The Directive creates a Central Security Service (CSS),4 under the Secretary of Defense, to conduct all DoD SIGINT collection operations.

A number of different options to accomplish this purpose were considered, the more important of which were:

Create a command organization at NSA Headquarters to supervise the SIGINT and COMSEC operations of the military departments and the commands. This involves minimum change to present arrangements.
Consolidate all DoD SIGINT and COMSEC organizations and dedicated SIGINT mobile collection platforms into a single cryptologic service. Of the options considered, this involves the greatest degree of change.
Consolidate SIGINT and COMSEC monitoring operations, as a Central Security Service, under a single operational chain of command, while preserving departmental administrative command, logistic, training, readiness and support responsibilities for their SIGINT and COMSEC organizations. Leave command organizations of dedicated [Page 568] SIGINT mobile platforms as is, but make the operation of these platforms subject to CSS mission control.5

Of the above, we recommend Option 3 as the most feasible way of carrying out the purposes of the President’s directive within the existing framework of the DoD organization and command structure. There is one overriding issue between ourselves and OMB and that is the definition of operational control as it appears in draft NSCID 6. OMB would have it include total control of the SIGINT activities and the platforms, with extremely limited delegation of operational control by NSA under emergency conditions. Our position is that a non-dedicated platform should be controlled normally by the appropriate military commander and that under certain emergency circumstances control of the SIGINT assets should be delegated to the tactical commander. We have not yet fully resolved this point with the OMB and NSC staffs. We are working on it.


Under this concept, a Central Security Service (CSS) will be established under the Director, NSA, who would concurrently be designated as the Chief, CSS. As he does in his capacity as DIRNSA, the Chief, CSS would report directly to you. The Services and the JCS have recommended that the Chief, CSS report to you through the JCS. We feel that a direct reporting relationship to you is the proper one, for reasons, which appear to us to be compelling. Your executive agent responsibilities for national SIGINT transcend those of the Chiefs or DoD alone. The CSS must serve as your operating arm for those responsibilities. The recommended relationship parallels the existing DIRNSASECDEF relationship as well as that now existing between DIRNSA and the SCA’s. It would be contrary to sound management principals for DIRNSA to report directly to you in one capacity and report through an intermediary in another as Chief of the CSS.

For the purpose of direction, control, and conduct of their operations, all SIGINT and COMSEC monitoring organizations and units of the military departments and the commands would be designated as subordinate elements of the CSS, while retaining their departmental identity for administrative command, logistics (including COMSEC logistics), training, readiness, support, and wartime expansion. Under this arrangement, the chiefs of the military department SIGINT organizations would concurrently be designated as chiefs of their respective [Page 569] Service elements of the CSS, but the tasking channel would run directly from the Chief, CSS to individual operating activities, much as it does now from DIRNSA to present COMINT intercept stations of the Services.

Under its chief and a two star deputy, the CSS would be responsible for conducting all DoD SIGINT and COMSEC monitoring operations, including the provision of direct service and direct support to operating commanders, as directed by the Secretary of Defense. Specific provision would be made for military commanders in the field to put overriding tasking on CSS units in satisfaction of emergency requirements, or, where essential, to conduct their own emergency SIGINT operations in satisfaction of emergency situation requirements.

The Chief, CSS would have authority to exercise mission control (operational and technical control) over CSS subordinate elements, to direct short-term shifts of manpower among elements as the situation requires, to establish the mission requirements for SIGINT mobile platforms not under the CSS, and to prepare concurrent/fitness efficiency reports on the commanders of CSS subordinate elements.

This concept is somewhat similar to that of a unified command. The Chief, CSS has operational responsibility and authority and control over his subordinate elements in very much the same sense as does the commander of a unified command over his components; the parent departments retain administrative and logistic responsibility in both cases.

Impact on Current Arrangements and Procedures

Establishment of a CSS will have its strongest operational impact in the field of ELINT operations, which will come under single operational control and management, in contrast to the present fragmented ELINT structure. COMSEC monitoring also passes from the military departments to the CSS operational structure, with administrative and logistic COMSEC functions staying in the departments. The provision of direct support units becomes the responsibility of the Chief, CSS, supplanting the individual military departments.

Essentially, there is no change in the process for submitting and responding to national SIGINT requirements, and in the tasking of SIGINT units to respond to these requirements, except that the CSS now becomes the vehicle for tasking and response, via a strengthened chain of direction and control. We do propose to introduce specific provisions for the CSS to respond to emergency requirements of the DoD at any level of command on an override basis. As regards fiscal control procedures, DIRNSA will need to exercise a somewhat closer management over current year resources of the military departments than he now does. This can be accomplished within your current policy on intelligence resource management.

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Similarly, little if any change is anticipated in training, logistics, and other functions of a non-operations nature.

We envisage a more active role for NSA in ELINT RDT&E, both as coordinator and participant.

In personnel management, we have provided that the Chief, CSS, submit concurrent fitness/efficiency reports on the commanders of his subordinate elements. This will enable him to appraise their effectiveness in accomplishing the operational portion of their mission, and is totally in consonance with his position as director of DoD SIGINT operations.

Anticipated Improvements

Establishment of a CSS as proposed herein is expected to produce significant benefits in management of SIGINT, particularly ELINT. A far more coherent ELINT effort is expected to result in more efficient ELINT operations, tangible savings in resources, and a more responsive output.

Finally, the creation of a CSS, having a military organizational relationship with its operating elements and the power to evaluate performance of the commanders of those elements, will correct an anomaly of long standing, in that it will provide an organizational structure which is in proper consonance with operational responsibility.

Proposed Implementing Directive

We propose that the directive provisions covering the CSS be ultimately incorporated in a comprehensive directive covering the National Security Agency, the CSS, and the functions of both, replacing the current NSA charter. However, for the purpose of the immediate review of specific directive provisions to establish the CSS within the time limit set by the President, a draft directive for this purpose, and embodying the concepts expressed herein, is attached at Tab “A.”6

Schedule for Implementation

As provided in the implementation paragraphs of Tab “A,” we propose that the directive become effective on publication, to meet the President’s desire for an effective issuance by 1 January. However, the CSS should not be established until you have approved a time-phased implementation plan for this purpose, as prescribed by the NSCID. Accordingly, our proposed directive charges DIRNSA to prepare and submit such a plan for your approval, and delays establishment of the CSS until you approve the plan.

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I recommend that you approve the concepts and proposals in this memorandum and approve in principal the draft directive at Tab “A.”

Robert C. Moot7
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330 76 197, 020 NSA 1971. Secret. Hall forwarded the draft memorandum to Packard under cover of a December 8 memorandum in which he stated that the draft memorandum was prepared by his staff and edited by Cooke and himself. Hall also sent a copy to Haig on December 8, who forwarded it to Kissinger. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 229, Defense, Vol. XIV Nov–Dec 71)
  2. Document 242.
  3. A copy is attached to Marshall’s December 2 memorandum to Kissinger. (National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, Log Numbered Series, 1971–1973) NSCID 6 was reissued on February 17, 1972.
  4. This was not our choice of titles; we would have preferred “Cryptologic Support Service,” if given the option. [Footnote in the source text.]
  5. Mission control is defined as the authoritative direction of operations, by tasking, target assignment, and allocation of effort, and the authoritative prescription of those uniform techniques and standards by which SIGINT information is collected, processed and reported. [Footnote in the source text.]
  6. Attached but not printed.
  7. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.