Cryptologic Conferences & Programs

The Symposium on Cryptologic History is a prestigious program showcasing speakers recognized as cryptologic authorities from around the world. The theme and agenda topics for the Symposium attract the interest of scholars, professionals, and the public.

NCMF and the NSA Center for Cryptologic History (CCH)

Gen. Michael Hayden, 2003 NSA Director

The Foundation assists the NSA Center for Cryptologic History (CCH) in preparing for the biennial Symposium on Cryptologic History and provides support to the CCH History Research Program. In 2003, then DIRNSA, General Michael V. Hayden, requested support from the NCMF for the 2003 Symposium. Since then the Foundation and CCH have teamed up to stage a unique biennial event that attracts international attention from academia and the Intelligence Community. Learn about the mission and programs of the Center for Cryptologic History.

Next Symposium on Cryptologic History - 17-18 October 2019

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) Center for Cryptologic History (CCH) and the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation (NCMF) invite proposals for papers to be presented at the 17th biennial Symposium on Cryptologic History which will take place October 17 - 18, 2019. The Symposium will be held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory's Kossiakoff Center in Laurel, Maryland. Following the Symposium on Saturday October 19th, attendees will be given an opportunity to tour the National Cryptologic Museum and participate in a workshop on researching cryptologic history sources.

The theme for the 2019 Symposium on Cryptologic History is "From Discovery to Discourse." Since 1990, the Symposium on Cryptologic History has served as an opportunity to present historical discoveries found in unclassified and declassified Intelligence Community records and engage in scholarly discussion about their significance to cryptologic history. All topics relevant to the history of cryptology, signals intelligence, technology, and national security are welcome. An interdisciplinary approach is encouraged. Topics anchored by anniversary events are traditionally well-received by attendees. Just two examples of significant anniversaries in 2019 include the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the British Government Code and Cypher School (now known as the Government Communications Headquarters or GCHQ) and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of NSA/CSS' predecessor, the Armed Forces Security Agency. Submissions from those who are new to the field, particularly graduate students, are particularly welcome. This will ensure the variety and diversity of exchange that has been the hallmark of this event.

2019 Symposium on Cryptologic History Call for Papers - More information on how to submit a paper for consideration at the 2019 Symposium on Cryptologic History


The theme for the 2017 Symposium was "Milestones, Memories, and Momentum." There were 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. The Symposium took place in October 2017, 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 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

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