What the agency needs most, Aid says, is more power. But the type of power to which he is referring is the kind that comes from electrical substations, not statutes. “As strange as it may sound,” he writes, “one of the most urgent problems facing NSA is a severe shortage of electrical power.” With supercomputers measured by the acre and estimated $70 million annual electricity bills for its headquarters, the agency has begun browning out, which is the reason for locating its new data centers in Utah and Texas. And as it pleads for more money to construct newer and bigger power generators, Aid notes, Congress is balking.
Electricity seems a more reasonable concession than executive orders. Regardless, this is a pretty fascinating read from The New York Review of Books on the organization that is three times the size of the NSA. They’re operations are depending more and more on data: a shift that faces at least as many problems as it causes.