Government Communications Headquarters

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The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is a British intelligence agency responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the UK government and armed forces. Based in Cheltenham, it operates under the guidance of the Joint Intelligence Committee.

CESG (originally Communications-Electronics Security Group) is the branch of GCHQ which works to secure the communications and information systems of the government and critical parts of UK national infrastructure.

GCHQ was originally established after World War I as the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS or GC&CS), by which name it was known until 1946.

GCHQ is the responsibility of the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, but it is not a part of the Foreign Office, and its Director ranks as a Permanent Secretary.



GCHQ is led by the Director of GCHQ, currently Iain Lobban, and a Corporate Board, made up of Executive and Non-Executive Directors. Reporting to the Corporate Board is Sigint missions (comprising Maths & cryptoanalysis, IT & computer systems, Linguists & translation and the Intelligence analysis unit), Enterprise (comprising Applied Research & emerging technologies, Corporate knowledge & information systems, Commercial supplier relationships and Biometrics), Corporate management (comprising Enterprise resource planning, Human resources, Internal audit and the Architecture team) and the Communications-Electronics Security Group.[2]

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