Thursday, March 11, 2010

Naval Security Group - 11 March 1935

On 11 March 1935, Op-20G became the "Communication Security Group."

This date commemorates the birth of the Naval Security Group.

By Alvin H. Grobmeier, CDR, USN (Ret.)

Historically, the Naval Security Group began in 1916 when the Code and Signal Section was established in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In 1918 our first modern codes were issued. They were copied after British codes used by us during World War I.

After the armistice was signed, an intelligence clerk from the Cable Censor's Office was transferred to the Code and Signals Section for research work in the development of codes and ciphers. This was the beginning of communications intelligence research. It became apparent at once that in order to learn the weakness of codes and ciphers, and hence how to construct secure ones, the first essential was to learn to solve them by cryptoanalysis.

There is no evidence that the Navy engaged in radio intercept during World War I, but the Navy definitely has been engaged in radio intercept since the early 1920s. In 1923 the Office of Naval Intelligence requested that all ships of the Asiatic Fleet forward intercepted Japanese and commercial code messages. In 1924 and possibly before, the naval radio station at the Navy Purchasing Office, Shanghai, China was intercepting and forwarding Japanese traffic. In 1924 the Naval Radio Station San Francisco was forwarding all official Japanese traffic to the Code and Signals Section and in that same year the first Navy intercept station was established in the U.S. Consulate at Shanghai.

In early1935, in accordance with joint action of the Army and Navy, radio intelligence was determined to be a function of communications and the Navy portion of radio intelligence was assigned to the Office of Naval Communications. On 11 March 1935, Op-20G became the "Communication Security Group." This date commemorates the birth of the Naval Security Group.

In 1942 Op-20G expanded into seventeen subsections and its chief became as Assistant Director for Communication Intelligence in the Office of Naval Communications. This coincided with the inclusion of all COMINT functions, including direction finding, under one officer. On 7 February 1943 Op-20G moved from the Army-Navy Building on Constitution Ave. to the new Communication Supplementary Annex, 3801 Nebraska Ave., Washington D.C. This location was later renamed Naval Communication Station Washington, D.C. and in Sept. 1950 it became the Naval Security Station.

On 28 January 1950 the following functional organizations were designated the Naval Security Group: Communications Supplementary Activities, Communications Security Activities, and Special Electronics Search Projects. In June 1960 the Registered Publication Section was added. In 1953 the organization now designated the Naval Security Group included Naval Communication Units, Security Group Departments of Naval Communication Stations, Naval Security Detachments and Registered Publication Issuing Offices.

In 1956, the U.S. Naval Security Group Headquarters Activity was established and in 1961 it was redesignated Naval Security Group Headquarters under the Director, Naval Security Group. The Naval Security Group Command, now under a Commander, reporting directly to the Chief of Naval Operations was activated 1 July 1968.

The Naval Security Group Command moved from the Naval Security Station to Fort Meade, Maryland in November 1995. The Naval Security Group Command was disestablished Sept 30, 2005, and on October 1, 2005 it was aligned with the Naval Network Warfare Command, Norfolk, Virginia. This action abolished the Naval Security Group after 70 years of service to the nation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My father was Capt. Robert S. Downes and was the CO of Naval security Group Nebraska Ave. many times. A Naval Acadamy grad pulled reserve duty there, i mention my father was CO. He said your fathers picture is on the wall alot. My father retired in 1966 and was the only civilian division chief at DCA. He died at the naval hospital in 1978 and is buried in arlington.