United States Army Security Agency is
a relatively young organization within the Department othe Army. The functions
of the Agency, however, are as ancient as warfare itself and have long
been associated, in one form or another,with our nation's military establishment.
identification of Signal Intelligence in modern warfare is found in two
organizations which were created shortly afterthe entry of the United States
into World War I. The first of these, the Cipher bureau of the Military
intelligence Division, was formed at the Army War College in June 1917.
The other organization was the Radio Intelligence Section, General Staff,
American Expeditionary Force, which was made operational in France and
opened its first intercept station at Souilly, France, in November 1917.
Later, when transferred tothe control of Chief Signal Officer, AEF, a Goniometric
Section, a Security Section, and a Code Compilation Section.
stations were maintained at intervals along the front, and there were listening
stations for intercepting enemy telephone conversations. Position warfare
aided the activities of these intercept units which continued operations
until the end of the war.
In 1919 the
Cipher Bureau of Military Intelligence Division moved to New York. Code
and Cipher compilation was taken over by the Chief Signal Officer in August1921,
restricting the Cipher Bureau to functions of solution. This Bureau, financedby
secret funds supplied jointly by the Military Intelligence Division and
the StateDepartment, was forced to close in 1929, when the State Department
withdrew its support. The remaining functions of the Bureau were
transferred to the Signal Corps which set up a new organization to perform
them. The new organization was designated Signal Intelligence Service,
and was located in the MunitionsBuilding in Washington, D.C. The Military
Intelligence Division continued to appropriate funds to help meet the expenses
of this reorganized service.
1929-1939 was marked by reaction against the participation of the United
States in world affairs and retenchment in all government agencies. The
War Department was hard hit, and it was extrememly difficult under these
conditions for the Signal Corps to obtain the necessary funds for expansion
ofsignal intelligence activities.
mounting European crisis of 1938, which culminated in Germany's invasion
of Poland on 1 September 1939, accelerated the planning being conducted
by the Army for mobilization and expansion in event of an emergency. In
these plans the Signal Intelligence Service had an important part; in fact,
in the whole War Department establishment in Washington, this servicewas
the first to be augmented in personnel, space, and facilities.
The rapid increases
in personnel that were being made soon brought about an overcrowding of
the space allotted to the Signal Intelligence Service in the Munitions
Building. Additional space was sought first in the Munitions Building,
then in the Pentagon, and finally in nearby Virginia. This led, in June
1942, to purchase of Arlington Hall Station, a tract of land located just
a few miles from the District of Columbia, which was to serve as headquarters
for the Signal Intelligence Service.
In order to
perform its wartime signal intelligence and security missions in the Zone
of Interior and in the various theaters of operation, it was necessary
for the Signal Intelligence Service to greatly expand its fixed installations.
As radio was used extensively by tactical units, it also became necessary
to develop an organization to support Army field units.
1943, the Signal
was redesignated the Signal Security Agency. In December 1944 the Military
Intelligence Service assumed operational control of the Agency, leaving
the Signal Corps to carry on the administrative functions. This "dual control"
lasted until 15 September 1945
when the Signal Security Agency was reorganized under the Assistant Chief
of Staff, G2, WarDepartment, as the Army
Security Agency .
With the end
of World War II, a period of readjustment and reorganization began. There
followed a steady depletion of Agency personnel which continued until the
on set of hostilities in Korea in June 1950, when the trend was finaly
reversed and wartime expansion begun.
In July 1949
the mutual cryptologic activities of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force
were brought together into a single body, the Armed Forces Security Agency(AFSA)
which was staffed by each of the services through components drawn from
Army Security Agency, Air Force Security Service, and Naval Security Group.
As a result of a study which had been ordered by the President, AFSA became
the National Security Agency(NSA)
in October 1952.
With the publication
of AR 10-122, in June 1955, the funtions of the ASA
were established essentially as they are at present. Today the United States
Army Security Agency(USASA), is a major command under the Department of
the Army. The Commanding General, USASA, is the advisor to the Chief of
Staff, US Army, and to elements of the Army Staff on matters within their
jurisdiction. He is the commander of a world-wide organization with direct
control over thousands of persons at over 100 locations scattered over
the face of the globe.