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NSA Historical Figures

Vera Ruth Filby

2013 Hall of Honor Inductee

Vera Ruth Filby served with the Women Accepted for Voluntary Exceptional Service (WAVES) and the Communications Supplementary Activity, the Navy's cryptologic organization, during World War II. Except for six months after her discharge, she served with NSA and its predecessors for the rest of her career.

From 1946-1961, she worked with a team of "troubleshooters" to help clear up backlogged analytic problems. Ms. Filby also worked at the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), where she was in charge of reporting on a special problem.

At NSA in 1959, she studied Russian and Chinese and took the Intensive Study Program in General Cryptanalysis, taught by the renowned Lambros Callimahos.

In 1965, Ms. Filby joined the National Cryptologic School (NCS), where for nearly 30 years she developed and taught courses on SIGINT reporting, mentored instructors, and taught SIGINT overview classes to partner agencies - something almost unheard of until then.

She was the first NSA winner of the CIA's Sherman Kent Award for intelligence literature. In 1970, she was named the first NCS Teacher of the Year, the award now known as the "Vera Filby Teacher of the Year." The Signals Intelligence Directorate honored her by publishing a Q&A newsletter column known as "Virtual Vera."

For over 30 years, SIGINT reporting at NSA has largely borne the stamp of Vera Filby. Hundreds of students who studied with her became analysts and reporters who provided their users the best information in the best possible form and style.

Vera Filby passed away in 2007.