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NSA Historical Figures

Charles R. (Dick) Lord

2015 Hall of Honor Inductee

During his exceptional career at the National Security Agency, Charles R. Lord distinguished himself by a rare combination of strategic and hands-on leadership. Mr. Lord provided guidance to NSA's Operations Directorate at the height of the Cold War, and at the same time, led development of a sophisticated strategy that served to position NSA/CSS for many of challenges in the 21st Century.

In his initial assignments at NSA in the 1960s, Mr. Lord earned a reputation as an area expert for a major intelligence target. In November 1969, he was appointed chief of A Group's Current SIGINT Operations Center, where he was responsible for assuring continuous collection and timely reporting on a key target.

Mr. Lord was responsible for significant structural improvements to NSA's mission. Under the direction of the Deputy Director of Operations, he led the task force that recommended establishment of a cryptologic operations center in the early 1970s. The organization and procedures of the Current SIGINT Operations Center served as the model for the National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC); the structure Dick Lord recommended for NSOC is still in place.

In 1978, Mr. Lord was appointed as Chief, Headquarters National Security Agency/Central Security Service Europe. There, he was instrumental in redirecting and reorganizing operations to provide more effective and timely SIGINT support to both U.S. and NATO commands by initiating a series of programs to consolidate and integrate many diverse efforts within the European SIGINT community.

In 1982, Mr. Lord was promoted to Deputy Director for Operations. In this position and, subsequently, as NSA's Deputy Director, Dick Lord was instrumental in pushing technical capabilities in a world of changing technology, and strengthened foreign partnerships. These were important contributions to continued NSA successes in the late Cold War.

Charles R. Lord developed or improved much of NSA's operations during the Cold War, and helped shape the successful policies and practices that enabled cryptologic success in this crisis period.