The pandemic affected everyone this year, but our mission didn’t slow down. As our Director, GEN Paul Nakasone said, we “are one team, and each of us contributes our unique expertise to a mission that is all the more critical in times of crisis.”
Throughout 2020, our workforce contributed our expertise in many ways:
NSA worked to secure our elections
The security of the 2020 Presidential election was NSA’s top priority in 2020. We were part of the Whole-of-Government effort to identify and counter foreign interference and malign influence threats to the 2020 U.S. elections. NSA generated vital insights and shared them with partner agencies like U.S. Cyber Command, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our efforts strived to assure all audiences, and most importantly, the American public, that NSA, USCYBERCOM, and other U.S. government partners together protected the U.S. elections from foreign interference and influence campaigns.
NSA shared cybersecurity guidance and advisories
Maryland Governor Hogan recognized our cybersecurity expertise to keep COVID-19 research protected as part of the U.S. Government-wide Operation Warp Speed (OWS). In addition to our support to OWS, as the pandemic shifted the workplace to home, NSA helped teleworkers work from home safely, secure their home office, and even limit their mobile device exposure thanks to guidance developed by our Cybersecurity mission.
NSA continued our steady provision of cybersecurity advice for the Department of Defense, National Security Systems and the Defense Industrial Base. These specific advisories and guidance also helped system administrators and other cyber specialists across the cybersecurity field by providing information that was timely, relevant, and actionable throughout the year.
NSA drove innovative solutions
While the world faced new challenges this year, we didn’t stop creating solutions. We contributed to the evolution of 5G, were involved in how to keep the Internet of Things secure, planned for the future of national security when applying quantum computing, we developed a QuBIT Collaboratory, and stood up the Center for Cybersecurity Standards.
NSA invested in our nation’s future
We look forward to starting the New Year and the future looks bright, thanks to our investments in the future. The OnRamp II program provides the scholarships for students who will be developing the newest solutions to keep our nation safe. NSA worked in partnership with the DoD Office of Small Business Programs and created the Cybersecurity Education Diversity Initiative to assist minority serving institutions. This allows Historically Black Colleges and Universities with no existing cybersecurity program to obtain access to and educational resources from designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Institutions. We were pleased to announce that the U.S. Naval Academy received its designation as an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations to develop new cyber warriors.
NSA personnel recognized for excellence
While many NSA personnel “serve in silence,” several of our staff and former personnel were publicly recognized this year for their dedication to our nation’s security. Former NSA Executive Director Harry Coker was recognized by the Intelligence Community for his commitment to improving diversity, equality, and inclusion. MSgt Frances Dupris, Dr. Ahmad Ridley, La’Naia Jones and Janelle Romano were recognized for showing the importance of STEM education and career development. Our Tech Transfer Team was recognized by the DoD for creating an efficient process for releasing NSA-developed capabilities to the open-source software community.
For more details on our efforts to protect our nation and secure our future, check out our Twitter, @NSAGov, throughout the month.