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Frank B. Rowlett Awards

2023 Rowlett Awardees Honored in Ceremony

Deputy Director of NSA’s Cybersecurity Directorate (CSD) David Luber honored the 2022 Rowlett Award recipients on behalf of NSA during a virtual ceremony on 8 November 2023.

Established in 1989, the Frank B. Rowlett Award recognizes outstanding organizational and individual excellence in the field of information systems security,” Luber said. “It provides a platform to acknowledge the amazing work being done to defend our Nation against its cyber adversaries.”  In honor of the late cryptographic pioneer Frank B. Rowlett, the award continues to recognize those contributions made to the Cybersecurity discipline.

The 2022 Frank B. Rowlett Award for Individual Achievement was given to Technical Sergeant Stephen S., Department of Air Force.  His efforts significantly enhanced the advancement of Cybersecurity for security-related areas which span across 254 sites, 7 continents, and 33 nations. 

TSgt Stephen S. led 20 Airmen during a Joint Worldwide Intelligence Commination’s System threat remediation project.  His team corrected 1,000 system threats and obtained a 1-year authority to operate averting a 70 million dollar classified mission failure. Moreover, he led the remodel of the Wing’s Network Intrusion Detection System infrastructure, which included an overhaul of 12 end of life devices costing 950 thousand dollars and boosted cyber threat awareness by 400 percent. 

In the Organizational Achievement category, the award was given to the 709 Cyberspace Squadron, for their outstanding contributions to the Department of Defense’s sole Nuclear Treaty Monitoring Mission for delivering cyber operation services to the Air Force Technical Applications Center. 
The Squadron’s expertise and swift action in sanitizing 1500 systems in one week versus the standard 3 week processing time was pivotal in combating the Department of Defense’s third largest cyber incident of 2022. The Unit of 180 members tackled emerging cyber threats, combed through 19,000 alerts, and created The Air Force Technical Applications Center’s first Mission Defense Team eliminating 31 exploits and safeguarding 80,000 terabytes of operational data from strategic competitors.

As you can see, we are making enormous strides against one of the toughest challenges our Nation is facing. As our cybersecurity mission continues to grow, so must our response with new talent and new technologies. We must continue to innovate and be steadfast in our mission with the same tenacity and focus as Mr. Rowlett.

Nominations for the 2023 annual Frank B. Rowlett Awards will open later in 2024.

NSA established the Information Systems Security National Awards to recognize outstanding federal government organizational and individual excellence in the field of information systems security in 1989. Today, these annual awards are named in honor of the cryptographic pioneer Frank B. Rowlett signifying the importance of his work in protecting American communications. These awards are given to recognize both organizational and individual contributions to the cybersecurity discipline.

Frank B. Rowlett worked as a cryptanalyst and cryptologist when he and his colleagues solved the first Japanese machine system for encipherment of diplomatic communications, known to the Americans as RED. He also played a major role in solving a much more sophisticated Japanese diplomatic cipher machine, nicknamed PURPLE by the United States. When asked what his greatest contribution to this effort was, he once said, "I was the one who believed it could be done.“ He was inducted into the NSA/CSS Hall of Honor in 1999. Read more about Frank B. Rowlett  and his work on RED and PURPLE.

The Frank B. Rowlett Trophy for Organizational Achievement is awarded to the federal government organization that makes the most significant contributions to the improvement of national cybersecurity; operational cybersecurity readiness; or the defensive cybersecurity operations posture of the United States.

We urge you to nominate those whose accomplishments in cybersecurity most warrant recognition to ensure all deserving individuals and organizations in the community have an opportunity to compete fairly.

Award Cycle & Eligibility: Nominations are received annually through a call for nominations; and only federal government employees employed outside NSA/CSS may be nominated. NSA elements and individuals are not eligible for these awards. Contractors and contract agencies are also not eligible.
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 Nomination Process

Nomination narratives should be no longer than two pages and single-spaced, and should describe the specific accomplishments of the nominee or organization that occurred during the previous calendar year.  

In the signature page of the form make sure to include:

  • Signatures of supervisors, classification reviewers, and prepublication officials; and

  • Signature of the NSA representative, if available, of the agency or department. This is not required.

Please contact us for questions or more information. We also recommend providing an email alias for your government agency so we can contact your organization for the awards in coming years.

Guidance for completing and submitting the forms is below.

  1. Click on the grey area to enter text into a field

  2. Properly and completely portion-mark for classification (to include U and U//FOUO portion markings)

  3. Enter the names and titles of all required endorsers in the appropriate fields on the signature page, prior to printing the form

  4. In the header and footer, replace "CLASSIFICATION MUST BE UPDATED WHEN FORM IS COMPLETED" with the correct classification level for the document.  Classified materials must be transmitted over appropriately classified systems.

  5. Scan and email nomination forms.

 Unclassified Citation Template

In addition to the nomination form(s), please completed the unclassified citation template. This will be used to present the award at the ceremony and should be a summary of the accomplishments in the nomination. The citation needs to remain UNCLASSIFIED.

 Organizational Award Nomination Form

The Frank B. Rowlett Awards Program presents a first place, non-monetary, Organizational Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding organizational accomplishments during the award period. Along with the winner, a runner up will also be recognized. The criteria considered include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Evidence of an organization’s ability to identify and solve significant cybersecurity problems, threats, or vulnerabilities.

  • Mission accomplishments and successes at the organizational or national level resulting from the application of cybersecurity.

  • Significant contribution to the elements or nation’s cybersecurity posture.

Download the Organizational Nomination Form Please note: You must have Adobe Acrobat to download and open the form - other programs will not work.

 Individual Award Nomination Form

The Frank B. Rowlett Awards Program presents a first place, non-monetary Individual Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding individual accomplishments during the award period. Along with the winner, a runner up will also be recognized. The criteria considered include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Evidence of individual ability to identify and solve significant cybersecurity problems, threats, or vulnerabilities.

  • Demonstration of outstanding leadership and knowledge in the application of Cybersecurity.

  • Innovative and creative use of resources (personnel, fiscal, or facilities) to successfully accomplish cybersecurity related goals and missions.

  • Significant contribution to the improvement of his/her element’s information systems security posture.

Download the Individual Nomination Form Please note: You must have Adobe Acrobat to download and open the form - other programs will not work.

 Previous Rowlett Award Winners
Year Trophy Type Individual/Agency
2021 Individual William H. — Central Intelligence Agency
2021 Organizational Federal Bureau of Investigation
2020 Individual Jacqueline Cheramie (Naval Surface Warfare Center)
2020 Organizational DIA — USEUCOM Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Division
2019 Individual Joseph E. Werle, U.S. Transportation Command
2019 Organizational U.S. Transportation Command (Command, Control, Communications, and Cyber Systems)
2018 Individual Justin Hodges — NIWC Atlantic Cybersecurity Service Provider 
2018 Organizational United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM)
2017 Individual TSgt Jacob R. Davidson — NRO 
2017 Organizational DIA - Office of the Counterintelligence
2016 Individual Marcus Stewart — Joint Staff J6
2016 Organizational United States Africa Command - Cyber Security Operations Division
2015 Individual Kurt Garbars — United States General Services Administration
2015 Organizational United States Strategic Command - USSTRATCOM NC3 Cybersecurity
2013 Individual United States Department of Health and Human Services
2013 Organizational Federal Bureau of Investigation
2012 Individual Office of the Chief Information Officer, DHHS
2012 Organizational Enterprise Security Operations Center, FBI/DoJ
2011 Individual IA/Security Division, FBI/DoJ
2011 Organizational U.S. Transportation Command
2010 Individual 86th Communication Squadron, USAF
2010 Organizational Missile Defense Agency
2009 Individual United States Air Force, NORAD-USNORTHCOM
2009 Organizational U.S. Department of State, Site Risk Scoring Program Team
2008 Individual Computer Network Defense Branch, USAF
2008 Organizational U. S. STRATCOM Joint Task Force - Global Network Operations
2007 Individual HQMC C4 IA
2007 Organizational U. S. STRATCOM Air Force Intrusion Prevention and Response Team
2006 Individual C4 Systems Directorate, U. S. Transportation Command
2006 Organizational Air Force Service Certifying Organization (AFSCO)
2005 Individual U.S. Strategic Command
2005 Organizational Air Force Service Certifying Organization (AFSCO)
2004 Individual Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
2004 Organizational The Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Cyber Threat Analysis
Division, US Department of State
2003 Individual U.S. PACOM
2003 Organizational U.S. TRANSCOM
2002 Individual U.S. Strategic Command
2002 Organizational U.S. Joint Forces Command
2001 Individual U.S. Joint Forces Command
2001 Organizational 33d Information Operations Squadron of Lackland Air Force Base
2000 Individual U.S. Strategic Command Offutt AFB, Nebraska
2000 Organizational U.S. Transportation Command Information Systems Security Branch
of the Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems Directorate
(TCJ6) Scott AFB, Illinois
1999 Individual Air Force Communications Agency Scott AFB, Illinois
1999 Organizational Information Technology Support Division Directorate for C4
Systems U.S. Strategic Command
1998 Individual Marine Corps Information Technology Network Operations Center
Quantico, Virginia
1998 Organizational 100th Communications Squadron RAF Mildenhall, England
1997 Individual 100th Communications Squadron RAF Mildenhall, England
1997 Organizational Information Systems Security Branch Command, Control,
Communications & Computer Systems Directorate U.S. Transportation Command
1996 Individual HQ USCINCPAC/J6
1996 Organizational PACAF Computer Systems Squadron Regional Information Protection
Center HQ Pacific Air Forces
1995 Individual U.S. Strategic Command
1995 Organizational Office of Information Security General Services Administration
1994 Individual Air Mobility Command
1994 Organizational U.S. Strategic Command
1993 Individual 7th Communications Group, Pentagon
1993 Organizational Air Force Cryptologic Support Center, AFIC
1992 Individual U.S. Space Command
1992 Organizational C41 Department Headquarters, United States Marine Corps
1991 Individual White House Communications Agency
1991 Organizational Intelligence Community Staff DCI's Information Handling Committee
1990 Individual Department of the Air Force
1990 Organizational The Treasury Department Technical Security Division U.S. Secret