Congress created the function of Inspector General of the Army – the first Inspector General for the United States – on December 13, 1777. Over time, the function evolved in the federal government and other branches of the military.

In 1961, the National Security Agency permanently instituted its IG function. The Inspector General Act of 1978 (the IG Act) codified the IG function at the federal level – granting authority and charging responsibility to federal IGs to conduct inspections, audits, investigations, special inquiries, and other reviews relating to their programs and operations. The goals: to detect and prevent government fraud, waste, abuse, and misconduct, and to promote the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of Agency programs and operations.

For more than 35 years, NSA’s Inspector General position was filled by a senior executive from within the Agency’s ranks. In 1996, NSA hired its first IG from outside the Agency, and the office became a designated federal entity under the IG Act in 2010.

The FY2014 Intelligence Authorization Act elevated the NSA to an Establishment OIG under the IG Act, requiring that its Inspector General be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Prior to that legislative change, NSA Directors appointed their IGs and could remove them.

In 2018, NSA’s first Presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed Inspector General assumed leadership of the office. The position is currently vacant.

By ensuring the integrity and efficiency of Agency operations through independent oversight, the NSA OIG aims to make NSA better.