Museum Mission & Future

MISSION OF THE NATIONAL CRYPTOLOGIC MUSEUM

The mission of the National Cryptologic Museum includes the following:

EDUCATE both professionals, students, and the general public regarding the techniques employed by cryptologic activities and their value to the nation.

STIMULATE the imagination of all those who participate in Museum programs in order to enhance our future cryptologic capability in ways that we cannot predict.

COMMEMORATE the capabilities and contributions of both individuals and organizations that have created the nation's cryptologic capability to date.

In supporting the mission of the NCM, the Foundation is convinced we are participating in a very worthwhile enterprise. We trust you will agree that this is indeed, “A Museum Like No Other,” and will join in our efforts to help it grow.

THREE FACTORS THAT HIGHLIGHT THE FUTURE IMPORTANCE OF THE NCM

CHANGES IN GOVERNMENTAL SECRECY - There have been significant changes over the last decade in the governmental policy on secrecy. Few will question the legitimate need for security and secrecy in many aspects of both government and industry. However, there is a growing awareness of the costs of excessive secrecy. There are huge volumes of declassified material from the past making slow, but steady, progress toward the public domain. Clearly, simply making the old declassified information available to the public is not enough. There is a real need for research and the application of educational resources in this area. This museum has the potential to grow into a major center for such research and study. 

THE NEED FOR INSIGHT FROM THE PAST IN PRODUCING NEW INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITIES - Our nation’s intelligence activities have often been required to adjust to new demands, and an effective museum can help today’s intelligence professional gain insights and lessons from the past that can provide context and guidance for the decisions that must be made today. Just as important, today’s public must gain increased confidence and improved intuition regarding the fundamental need for, and value of, such Foreign Intelligence activities. Related educational programs that are historically correct and technically accurate are being created to illustrate today’s situation by extrapolating from past examples. This museum has an important role to play in these processes. 

INCREASING PUBLIC USE OF CRYPTOGRAPHIC TECHNIQUES - Literally tens of millions of individuals are using public cryptographic tools today; many perhaps without even realizing it. This dynamic marketplace makes cryptology a much more publicly interesting topic than it was even a decade ago. There is a natural question regarding the proper role of our government in the public use of some cryptologic techniques. Properly designed museum educational programs can prove to be an asset in creating new institutional relationships that help improve public understanding and trust among the participants.