Saturday, February 25, 2017

CSE 2017-18 budget to be $596 million

The 2017-18 Main Estimates, tabled in parliament on February 23rd, show a projected 2017-18 CSE budget of $595,983,723.

As the document shows, the budget projected for 2017-18 is slightly higher than the $583.6 million that was originally projected for the current fiscal year (2016-17) and slightly lower than the $599.8 million 2016-17 "to date" figure, which reflects additions made to CSE's budget authorities during the fiscal year. It is $23.6 million lower than the $619.5 million that was actually spent in 2015-16.

After accounting for inflation, this would suggest that CSE's 2017-18 budget will be roughly 7% smaller than it was in 2015-16.

CSE's actual spending in 2017-18 could well turn out to be greater than its 2015-16 spending, however. The agency has received large in-year budget top-ups every year for the last seven years.

Thus, it may be safer to say that CSE's budget appears to have stabilized for the moment at the roughly $600 million level, but with significant year-to-year fluctuations.

That level is about 4.4 times as high, after adjusting for inflation, as CSE's pre-9/11 budget.

According to the Main Estimates, 72% of the money will go to CSE's SIGINT program, while the IT Security program will account for the remaining 28%.

Update 27 October 2017: Make that eight years. This year's Supplementary Estimates (B) added $33 million to CSE's FY 2017-18 budget authority. More here.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Kevin O'Neill in 1945

I was recently reading The Emperor's Codes, Michael Smith's 2011 book about the Allied effort to break Japanese codes during the Second World War, and to my surprise I ran across a 1945 photo that shows Kevin O'Neill, the Bletchley Park veteran who later became the Director of CBNRC/Chief of CSE.

O'Neill, who finished the war with the rank of Major in the British Army, worked on the Tunny problem, among other systems, during his time at Bletchley. But by 1945 he was part of the British liaison team at the U.S. Army's Signal Security Agency at Arlington Hall in Washington.

For reasons not clear to me, he appears in this photo (second from the right) with members of the British liaison office at the U.S. Navy's code-breaking agency, OP-20-G, which was located at the Naval Communications Annex. Note how, aside from civilian Wilfred (not William) Bodsworth, everyone in the photo other than O'Neill is in naval uniform.

O'Neill and John Manson, another British Army Major serving at the Signal Security Agency, were recruited by Ed Drake in 1946, becoming part of CBNRC's initial staff. Manson died in 1952, but O'Neill remained with the agency for his entire career, becoming the Director of CBNRC in 1971 and retiring as Chief of CSE in 1980.

Friday, February 17, 2017

List of Senior U.S. Liaison Officers at CSE

I've finally managed to get a reasonably complete list of the Senior United States Liaison Officers, or SUSLOs, assigned to CSE over the years.

SUSLOs are assigned by NSA to all of the Five Eyes SIGINT agencies, with the various SUSLOs distinguished from one another by suffixes. The SUSLO assigned to Canada is known as the SUSLO/O, for Ottawa.

The photo above shows Velva Klaessy, who served as SUSLO/O from 1970 to 1971. Klaessy was the first woman to serve as SUSLO at any location.

SUSLO/O list (with years of arrival and departure)
Lt. Robert Carl, USN (Acting)19501950
Maj. Oval Jones, USAF19501952
LCdr. Arthur Conant, USN19521953
Maj. Robert Morin, USAF19531955
Maj. Ralph Barch, USA19551958
LCol. Robert Maurer, USA19581960
Fred Sims19601963
William Kaczmar19631966
Maurice Edens19661970
Velva Klaessy19701971
Francis Irons19711974
Martin Sullivan19741977
Melville Boucher19771981
William Gerdes19811984
George Abbott19841990
Gary Kirkey19901992
Robert Arndt19921995
John Dirks19951999
Maria O'Connor19992002
Cindy Farkus20022005
Donna Marie Barbano20082011
Cynthia Daniels20112014

The SUSLO identities from 1950 to 1974 are from a recently released version of History of CBNRC (Access release A-2015-00045). The more recent identities were assembled by me from public domain materials, with invaluable assistance from U.S. intelligence historian Matthew Aid, and may still contain some errors. I haven't included the current SUSLO/O on the list.

For earlier compilations of CSE's own liaison officers, the CANSLOs, see here and here.

Monday, February 06, 2017

ATIpper #10: CSE might have moved to Kingston

More from the Access to Information files:

According to access release A-2013-00055, CSE considered 17 properties in the National Capital Region, Arnprior, and Kingston when it was choosing the location for its new headquarters complex.

As is well known, the site ultimately chosen was in Ottawa's east end, adjacent to CSIS's headquarters.

But the agency's number two choice was Kingston.

It's a bit hard to believe that Kingston was ever seriously considered, however.

The fact that CSE personnel would have to drive two hours each way every time they needed to attend a meeting in Ottawa would surely have weighed heavily against selecting the site.

And convincing the agency's more than 2000 employees to move to Kingston would also likely have proved difficult and disruptive to morale.

Update 8 February 2017:

David Pugliese, "Kingston was the number two choice for CSE’s new headquarters," Ottawa Citizen, 7 February 2017