National Counterintelligence and Security Center


National Counterintelligence and Security Center

Economic Espionage


America's adversaries throughout history have routinely taken their competitive efforts beyond the battlefield. They frequently avoid using standing armies, shirk traditional spy circles, and go after the heart of what drives American prosperity and fuels American might. Nazi spies during World War II tried to penetrate the secrets behind our aviation technology, just as Soviet spies in the Cold War targeted our nuclear and other military secrets.


Today, foreign intelligence services, criminals, and private sector spies are focused on American industry and the private sector. These adversaries use traditional intelligence tradecraft against vulnerable American companies, and they increasingly view the cyber environment—where nearly all important business and technology information now resides—as a fast, efficient, and safe way to penetrate the foundations of our economy. Their efforts compromise intellectual property, trade secrets, and technological developments that are critical to national security. Espionage against the private sector increases the danger to long-term U.S. prosperity.


Without corrective action that mobilizes the expertise of both the Federal Government and the private sector, the technologies cultivated by American minds and within American universities are at risk of becoming the plunder of competing nations at the expense of long-term U.S. security.


The private sector alone lacks the resources and expertise to thwart foreign efforts to steal critical American know-how. This is in large part because counterintelligence is not a typical corporate function, even for well-trained and well–staffed security professionals.


Counterintelligence is a challenge for corporations for two reasons. Cost is the first reason. CI measures absorb company resources that would otherwise be used for growth. The second CI challenge is tied to the nature of public corporations. American companies are driven into developing markets by shareholders, growth ambitions, and the desire to beat Wall Street's quarterly earnings expectations. The requirement to move quickly and unabashedly leaves American companies vulnerable as they flock into spy-rich developing nations. China and Russia are our most aggressive and capable adversaries using economic espionage.


China and Russia are not the only perpetrators of espionage against sensitive US economic information and technology. Some US allies abuse the access they have been granted to try to clandestinely collect critical information that they can use for their own economic or political advantage.

Reports, Briefings & Reading Material:

Foreign Spies Stealing US Economic Secrets in Cyberspace Protecting Key Assets: A Corporate Counterintelligence Guide20180724 foreign economic espionage cyberspace


Cyber Security


The cyber threat is simultaneously a national & homeland security threat and a counterintelligence problem.  State and non-state actors use digital technologies to achieve economic and military advantage, foment instability, increase control over content in cyberspace and achieve other strategic goals — often faster than our ability to understand the security implications and neutralize the threat.


NCSC works with the U.S. Government cyber community and the IC, to provide the CI and security perspective on foreign intelligence and other threat actors’ cyber capabilities and provides context and possible attribution of adversarial cyber activities.


Relevant Reports, Briefings & Reading Material:

Provides an indispensable series of basic steps every American can take to safeguard their home networks from cyber intrusions


CI tips for cyber smarts:


Other Links:


FBI Cyber Crime



“CI and security are interconnected and cannot be
executed in isolation.” –
NCSC Director Evanina


The solutions to countering adversarial threats often lie at the intersection of the CI and security disciplines.  CI has both a defensive mission — to protect our nation’s secrets and assets from theft, manipulation, or destruction by foreign adversaries by knowing their intentions, targets, capabilities and methods — and an offensive mission — to exploit, deceive or disrupt their hostile activities.  Assuring the security of personnel, data, networks, national & trade secrets, and physical facilities – is a critical element.  The U.S. faces higher cyber, physical, and technical threat levels than ever before; and security policies, standards, guidelines and practices must be based on sound threat analysis and risk management.


NCSC blends CI and security expertise to lead and support CI and security activities across the U.S. Government, the Intelligence Community and U.S. private sector entities at risk of intelligence collection, penetration or attack by foreign and other adversaries.


NCSC Blends CI and Security expertise to lead and support CI and security activities



  • For Counterintelligence, the Director of NCSC serves as both the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX) and the National Intelligence Manager for Counterintelligence (NIM-CI).
  • For Security, NCSC is responsible for Security Executive Agent (SecEA) activities, on behalf of the Director National Intelligence, across the Executive Branch and is the DNI’s designee for oversight and direction for safeguarding national security programs across the IC.


We also:



National Counterintelligence and Security Center

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) is led and staffed by a cadre of professionals with decades of national security and law enforcement expertise and varied analytic, investigative and policymaking backgrounds.  Working with partners across the Executive Branch Departments and Agencies and the private sector, NCSC provides expertise in several mission areas including insider threat, supply chain risk management, and personnel security.  Additional information is available in the NCSC  Strategic Plan for 2016-2020.


Security Executive Agent

NCSC professionals also serve as the Executive Staff for the Director of National Intelligence as Security Executive Agent (SecEA).  Presidential Executive Order EO 13467, assigned the DNI responsibility for effective and uniform policies and procedures governing access to classified information for the Intelligence Community (IC) and government-wide.


National Insider Threat Task Force

Since 2011, NCSC has been the home of the National Insider Threat Task Force (NITTF).  Under joint leadership of the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence, NITTF works government wide to deter the compromise of classified information by malicious insiders and to establish programs to protect federal classified networks.


NCSC Seal The National Counterintelligence and Security Center provides effective leadership and support to the counterintelligence and security activities of the U.S. Intelligence Community, the U.S. Government, and U.S. private sector entities who are at risk of intelligence collection or attack by foreign adversaries.

About the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC)

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and is staffed by senior counterintelligence (CI) and other specialists from across the national intelligence and security communities. The NCSC develops, coordinates, and produces:

  • National Threat Identification and Prioritization Assessment (NTIPA) and other analytic CI products.
  • The National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States of America.
  • Priorities for CI collection, investigations, and operations.
  • CI program budgets and evaluations that reflect strategic priorities.
  • In-depth espionage damage assessments.
  • CI awareness, outreach, and training standards policies depends on the 17 agencies in the Intelligence Community and partners across the U.S. Government and with experts in the private sector.

National Counterintelligence and Security Center