CSE Celebrates its 70th Year

CSE's 70th Anniversary

Our People, Our Business and World-Changing Events

On September 1st, 1946, CSE’s predecessor, the Communications Branch of the National Research Council (CBNRC) began operations. This new agency resulted from the post-war union of Canada’s two wartime cryptologic offices, the civilian Examination Unit (XU) and the military Joint Discrimination Unit (JDU). This union was the result of an Order in Council signed on April 13th, 1946, which authorized 179 classified positions to be established within the National Research Council for the essential continuation of “work of great value” that had been carried on in wartime by the XU and the JDU. The work of this unit was referred to as “cipher breaking” and “cipher making”. These activities were later generalized as Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Communications-Electronic Security (COMSEC).

On Tuesday September 3, 1946, under the direction of Edward Drake, the staff of the CBNRC arrived at work for the first time. The work of Canada’s peacetime cryptologic agency was highly classified and largely unknown to the Canadian public.

Much of CSE’s work today remains highly classified, but over the course of the next year, we will be looking back at our history, and sharing some of our stories about how CSE has evolved from the CBNRC of 1946 to the modern and agile CSE that it is today.

Although the threats and challenges have changed over the decades – from the Cold War to Cyber Security, from the Soviet Union to ISIL, CSE’s work is as important to Canada now as ever before. One thing that has remained constant over the last 70 years is the care, professionalism and integrity demonstrated by those entrusted with the challenging, yet rewarding, task of keeping Canada and Canadians safe at home and around the world.

“As you celebrate this significant milestone in CSE’s ongoing story, I hope you do so, knowing that you have the confidence, gratitude and support of your allies and colleagues across the Government of Canada.”

- The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minster of National Defence

“We are celebrating 70 years of crucial and tireless work of protecting Canada and Canadians. It’s an opportunity to look back with honour and pride at our history and the many CSE personnel who came before us, the sacrifices they made, the tremendous accomplishments they enjoyed, and the impact they had.”

- Greta Bossenmaier, Chief, CSE