CCH Symposium

NCMF and the NSA Center for Cryptologic History (CCH)

The Foundation supports the NSA Center for Cryptologic History (CCH) by assisting them in preparing for the bi-annual CCH History Symposium and providing support to the CCH History Research Program. Since 2003 the CCH has received accolades for their symposiums and 2015 marks the seventh time the CCH and Foundation have cooperated in presenting this popular three-day cryptologic event. Please see info about the October 2017 Symposium below.

Learn about the mission and programs of the Center for Cryptologic History.

Gen. Michael Hayden, 2003 NSA Director

The Symposium is a prestigious program showcasing speakers recognized as cryptologic authorities from around the world. In 2003, then DIRNSA, General Michael V. Hayden, requested support from the NCMF for the October 2003 CCH History Symposium. This was the first time the Symposium was held outside the NSA Friedman Auditorium, thus creating special planning challenges. Since then the Foundation has teamed with the CCH to help stage the bi-annual event that attracts international attention from academia and the Intelligence Community.

The theme and agenda topics for the Symposium attract the interest of scholars, professionals, and the public. For example, in 2009 the agenda included presentations and discussions of the attack on the USS Liberty and the capture of the USS Pueblo. In the audience were a few participants of these events, as well as relatives of the crew members, thus making these discussions especially vivid and poignant.

For directions to our event locations, click HERE.

Upcoming CCH Symposium - October 2017

The next biennial Symposium on Cryptologic History will take place October 19 - 20, 2017. The Symposium will be held at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory's Kossiakoff Center in Laurel, Maryland. Following the Symposium, on Saturday, October 21, participants will be given an opportunity to tour the National Cryptologic Museum and participate in a workshop on sources for research in cryptologic history.

The theme for the 2017 Symposium will be "Milestones, Memories, and Momentum." There are many milestones to mark in 2017: the 160th anniversary of the first attempt to span the Atlantic with a telegraph cable, 100 years since both the entry of the United States into World War I and the Russian October Revolution, and 75 years after the World War II battles of Coral Sea and Midway. Our Symposium will take place just a few months before the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and during the 25th year after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.


The Center for Cryptologic History invites proposals for papers to be delivered at the biennial Symposium on Cryptologic History in October 2017.

Papers looking at the milestone events in cryptology (mentioned above) and considering how we remember their significance are particularly encouraged, as are those examining how cryptologic advances from these times provided momentum to create the systems of today and the future.

We are also eager to have proposals on cryptologic topics that diverge from the theme. Submissions from those who are new to the field, particularly graduate students, are very welcome. This will ensure the variety and diversity of exchange that has been the hallmark of this event.

There will be a World War I-specific track to mark the centennial of American participation in that war and the birth of modern signals intelligence.


The proposals and papers must be unclassified. We encourage proposals for single presentations and full panels; the program committee may form panels from single presentations with like topics. Presenters should be prepared to speak for 15-20 minutes; proposals for a longer time slot should include a strong justification.

Your proposal package should include an abstract of no more than ONE page, a complete CV, a short biographical sketch (not to exceed 150 words) to be used in the program, the amount of time you require for your paper, and full contact details. Panel proposals should include the above for each presenter and a short explanation of the panel's theme.

Please submit your proposal by noon on Monday, February 6, 2017, to Program Chair Betsy Rohaly Smoot at or to her care at The Center for Cryptologic History, Suite 6886, 9800 Savage Road, Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755. Please note that correspondence that does not include the suite number may not be delivered in a timely manner. Proposals received after noon on February 6 will be considered on a space-available basis. The program committee will notify you about the final status of your proposal by June 9, 2017, but may engage you in discussions before that date.


Registration costs for 2017 have not yet been set, but for planning purposes the costs for 2015 were as follows: $70/day ($140 for 2 days, no cost for the museum visit); $35/day ($70 for 2 days) for full-time students with ID. The fee includes lunch and snacks. In the past we have been able to waive the fees for non-government speakers on the day they present their paper. We hope to have final registration costs available at the time you are notified about the status of your proposal.

***Note - the biennial Symposium on Cryptologic History typically occurs during the same week as the NCMF's General Membership Meeting & Annual Symposium - thus, making for "three days of cryptology" or actually four if you can attend the Saturday workshop at the Museum. The NCMF meeting generally takes place on Wednesday, just prior to the start of the CCH Symposium.

Contact Info:
Betsy Rohaly Smoot
Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency  301-688-2336

Previous CCH Symposiums

The 2015 CCH Symposium was held on 22-23 October at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory's Kossiakoff Center in Laurel, Maryland. Following the Symposium, on Saturday, October 24, participants were given an opportunity to tour the National Cryptologic Museum and participate in a workshop on sources for research in cryptologic history.

The theme for the 2015 Symposium was “A Century of Cryptology.” As we mark the centenary years of World War I (1914–1918), when so many significant advancements occurred in the field of cryptology, we examine the impact cryptologists made throughout the twentieth century, especially during such periods as World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the War in Vietnam, and the post-Cold War era. The Symposium included panels that look at the foundations of cryptology before the “Great War.”

Mr. Chris Inglis, Deputy Director NSA in 2013

The theme for the 2013 Symposium was "Technologic Change and Cryptography:  Meeting the Historical Challenge." The keynote address was given by Mr. Chris Inglis, then Deputy Director of NSA. Present at the Symposium were scholars from around the world and the presentations were wide ranging. Examples include: Intelligence Preparation for the Next War, Cipher Systems and Methods, Cryptology as Musical Entertainment, Cryptology in the Ancient World, Bletchley Park Celebrated, and COMINT and the Civil War.

Center for Cryptologic History Symposium Speakers & Honored Guests