289. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (Hall) to Secretary of Defense Laird1


  • National Security Agency/Central Security Service Organization Plan

In your memorandum of 14 April 19722 on the above subject, you directed me to conduct an in-depth review, with the participation by the JCS, to assess the adequacy of the NSA/CSS organization plan to respond to the needs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and military commanders. This review, which included team visits to EUCOM and PACOM, has been completed.3

You asked six specific questions in your memorandum of 14 April 1972. The observations of the review team relative to these questions are summarized at Tab “A.” The team’s full report is at Tab “B.” The JCS comments, which concurred in the team’s recommendations, are at Tab “C.”4

While there are further actions needed, I believe that DIRNSA, with my support, is moving to take these actions. I do not believe that further guidance from you is needed now. We will continue to follow the implementation of the CSS, and if additional Sec Def action is needed I will provide you with recommendations.

Albert Hall
[Page 657]

Tab A

1. Is the new system improving SIGINT support to local commanders?

Military commanders are generally satisfied with the peacetime support they are receiving. However, they do not yet recognize any distinction between NSA and CSS and do not attribute improved SIGINT support to creation of the CSS. They believe that the quality and timeliness of support has improved during the past year, mostly as a result of the creation of a number of new Cryptologic Support Groups (CSGs), which had been planned before CSS was established, and to expansion of National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) capabilities.

2. Should responsibility for SIGINT tasking control be delegated to lower echelons to improve responsiveness to local commanders’ needs?

Military commands are convinced that tasking authority over direct support elements must be vested in the commander they support during exercises, contingencies and wartime.

3. Have personnel savings been made from combining and/or eliminating staffs?

NSA/CSS indicates some savings have been made, but the actual numbers are not yet known.

4. Should additional tasking authority be transferred from NSA to CSS?

No SIGINT tasking authority has yet been transferred to CSS.

5. Is it feasible to collocate the headquarters operational elements of the SCAs, CSS and NSA?

It is desirable and feasible to collocate the headquarters. However, the availability of space at Fort Meade is the determinant.

6. Is dual hatting of senior NSA officials to CSS positions effective?

Commands in the field have noted no effect of dual hatting and hold no opinion on the question. SCA commanders view the dual hatting concept as having thus far proved ineffective and believe that it has complicated organizational relationships.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330 77 094, 020 NSA 1972. Secret. A notation on the memorandum indicates Laird saw it.
  2. Not found.
  3. In an October 17 memorandum to Laird, Hall requested a postponement of the review until April 1973 because his staff had learned through interviews with senior officials of the CSS headquarters staff that “the CSS organization is evolving, but it is not yet fully operational. The headquarters staff is currently about 60% manned in the key areas, and the major staff effort at this time is being devoted to aligning missions and functions and establishing staff policies and procedures with the NSA organization and with the CSS operating elements overseas. In the field, military commanders are just beginning to get acquainted with the CSS area headquarters organizations.” Laird commented that this “would seem all the more reason to have early review.” (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: RG 330, FRC 330 77 094, 020 NSA 1972)
  4. Tabs B and C are attached but not printed.