|Հայաստանի Ազգային Անվտանգության Ծառայություն|
The National Security headquarters in Yerevan
|Formed||4 December 1991|
|Jurisdiction||Government of Armenia|
National Security Service of Armenia (Armenian: Հայաստանի Ազգային Անվտանգության Ծառայություն, romanized: Hayastani Azgayin Anvtangut’yan Tsarrayut’yun) is a state agency of Armenia, responsible for national security and intelligence and providing border troops, cryptographers, and the personal security to the Prime Minister of Armenia.
In late September 1991, the Soviet republic of Armenia declared its independence and therefore began the process of restructuring its Soviet-era security agencies, including the Committee for State Security (KGB) of the Armenian SSR. According to a law on the structure and composition of the government adopted on 4 December 1991, the KGB was renamed into the State Directorate of National Security, with Major General Husik Suren Harutyunyan becoming its first director, serving until February 1992.
Between 1996 and 1999, the government went through the process of uniting the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs into one department. Despite rumors that the NSS will be dismembered into several departments to follow a Russian format, the service runs with a KGB-style semi-militarized structure which remains unchanged since its establishment. On 17 December 2002, President Robert Kocharyan restructured the National Security Ministry into the NSS.
It is known to have participated in both the 2016 Yerevan hostage crisis and the 2018 anti-corruption crackdown. During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, 46 servicemen of the NSS Border Troops were killed, with 191 others wounded, and 2 declared missing. During the protests following the 2020 Karabkah ceasefire agreement, the NSS foiled an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, uncovering the illegal acquisition and storage of weapons and explosives by a group of people led by former NSS operative and director Artur Vanetsyan.
The NSS maintains senior organs as well as a central administration and regional directorates:
The Armenian Border Guard has, since 2004, been under the jurisdiction of the NSS after remaining under the control of the Ministry of Defence for 12 years.
In April 2021, group of former senior NSS officials formed an organization called the Union of NSS Reserve Officers. The union includes, in particular, ex-director of the NSS Artur Vanetsyan, former commander of the border troops Armen Abrahamyan, former Deputy Head of the NSS Grigory Harutyunyan, and former Acting Director of the NSS Mikael Hambardzumyan. The task of the union is to confront the challenges and threats to security, collect facts of the subversive activities of some structures, and use the experience of officers to solve the country's security problems. Although initially created as an apolitical structure, it supported the army officials who signed a statement drafted by General Staff calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.