NSA in midst of adding 1,000 new employees


The National Security Agency, the secretive collection of codebreakers at Fort Meade that is Maryland's biggest employer, hasn't done much hiring since the Cold War ended.

But that appears to be changing. The agency is hiring 500 people this year and plans to hire another 500 next year, its director, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minihan, said yesterday.

"We've downsized at NSA for several years," Minihan told a breakfast meeting of the BWI Business Partnership. But now the agency is looking for linguists, mathematicians, intelligence analysts and others, he said, who can help its mission of global eavesdropping.

NSA reportedly has 20,000 Maryland workers, but it won't confirm the number. And its bosses rarely offer even general details about its operations. The agency has shrunk by 35 percent in the last 10 years and has hired a third of its present workers during that time, said Minihan, who became NSA's director this year.

NSA bought $700 million worth of goods and services from Maryland businesses last fiscal year, and next year "the amount of money that we award locally will go up," he added.

Pub Date: 10/24/96

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