44 years ago today on February 14,  1973 a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC).

The National Security Operations Center (NSOC) is the part of the United States National Security Agency responsible for current operations and time-sensitive signals intelligence (SIGINT) reporting for the United States SIGINT System (USSS).

NSOC is an operations center on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week basis, providing total situational awareness across the NSA/CSS enterprise for both foreign Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance, maintains cognizance of national security information needs, and monitors unfolding world events.


In 1969, a U.S. Navy EC-121 patrol plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan. In the ensuing hours, NSA leaders raced from office to office to gather the information necessary to assemble a coordinated response for the agency and national leadership. This incident demonstrated the need for a dedicated watch center to respond to breaking world events.

The center was established in 1968 as the National SIGINT Watch Center (NSWC) and renamed into National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) in 1973. This “nerve center of the NSA” got its current name (National Security Operations Center) in 1996.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, the NSOC’s mission was broadened from watch center to the operations center.  Source: