The National Security Agency’s Center for Cryptologic History sponsors the Cryptologic History Symposium every two years. The next one will be held 6-7 October 2011 in Maryland.
Historians from the Center, the Intelligence Community, the defense establishment, and the military services, as well as distinguished scholars from American and foreign academic institutions, veterans of the profession, and the interested public all will gather for two days of reflection and debate on topics from the cryptologic past.
The theme for the upcoming conference will be: “Cryptology in War and Peace: Crisis Points in History.” This topical approach is especially relevant as the year 2011 is an important anniversary marking the start of many seminal events in our nation’s military history. The events that can be commemorated are many.
Such historical episodes include the 1861 outbreak of the fratricidal Civil War between North and South. Nineteen forty-one saw a surprise attack wrench America into the Second World War. The year 1951 began with the fall of Seoul to Chinese Communist forces with United Nations troops retreating in the Korean War. In 1961, the United States began a commitment of advisory troops in Southeast Asia that would eventually escalate into the Vietnam War; that year also marked the height of the Cold War as epitomized by the physical division of Berlin. Twenty years later, a nascent democratic movement was suppressed by a declaration of martial law in Poland; bipolar confrontation would markedly resurge for much of the 1980s. In 1991, the United States intervened in the Persian Gulf to reverse Saddam Hussein’s aggression, all while the Soviet Union suffered through the throes of its final collapse. And in 2001, the nation came under siege by radical terrorism.
Participants will delve into the roles of signals intelligence and information assurance, and not just as these capabilities supported military operations. More cogently, observers will examine how these factors affected and shaped military tactics, operations, strategy, planning, and command and control throughout history. The role of cryptology in preventing conflict and supporting peaceful pursuits will also be examined. The panels will include presentations in a range of technological, operational, organizational, counterintelligence, policy, and international themes.
Past symposia have featured scholarship that set out new ways to consider out cryptologic heritage, and this one will be no exception. The mix of practitioners, scholars, and the public precipitates a lively debate that promotes an enhanced appreciation for the context of past events. Researchers on traditional and technological cryptologic topics, those whose work in any aspect touches upon the historical aspects of cryptology as defined in its broadest sense, as well as foreign scholars working in this field, are especially encouraged to participate.
The Symposium will be held at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s Kossiakoff Center, in Laurel, Maryland, a location central to the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas. As has been the case with previous symposia, the conference will provide unparalleled opportunities for interaction with leading historians and distinguished experts. So please make plans to join us for either one or both days of this intellectually stimulating conference.
Interested persons are invited to submit proposals for a potential presentation or even for a full panel. While the topics can relate to this year’s theme, all serious work on any aspect of cryptologic history will be considered. Proposals should include an abstract for each paper and/or a statement of session purpose for each panel, as well as biographical sketches for each presenter. To submit proposals or form more information on this conference, contact Dr. Kent Sieg, the Center’s Symposium Executive Director, at 301-688-2336 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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