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NSA Historical Figures

ADM Bobby R. Inman, USN

2017 Hall of Honor Inductee

Admiral Bobby Inman received his BA degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1950, and was commissioned in the Naval Reserve in 1952. He served in a variety of operational assignments, but primarily held intelligence-related positions, including Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Admiral Inman became Director of NSA in 1977. Over the next four years, he made profound changes in Agency practices and culture. He oversaw major technical improvements to NSA operations, including overhead collection, remote collection, and signals processing.

In the tense period after the Congressional investigations of the mid-1970s, Admiral Inman's contributions were essential to both NSA's and Congressional committees' adjustments to the new direct involvement of the Legislative Branch in NSA operations.

Arguably, his most influential contribution to NSA was in the process changes for developing future leadership. Admiral Inman established a special committee to identify mid-level managers with ability, and set policies on how they were to be prepared for future leadership roles. The methods he used formed the basis for today's leadership development process.

Admiral Inman left NSA in 1981 to become Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He retired from the Navy and government service in 1982.