Composed of soldiers
with very high scores on Army intelligence tests, the ASA was tasked with
monitoring and interpreting military communications of the Soviet Union,
the People’s Republic of China, and their allies and client states around
the world. ASA was directly subordinate to NSA and all field stations had
NSA tech reps on site.
These jobs, which required
top secret clearance, were essential to U.S. Cold War efforts. ASA units
operated in shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ASA troops were
not allowed to discuss their jobs with outsiders — in fact, they could
not talk among themselves about their jobs unless they were in a secure
location. Owing to the sensitivity of the information with which they worked,
ASA soldiers were subject to travel restrictions during and after their
time in service. The activities of the U.S. Army Security Agency have only
recently been partly declassified.