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NSA Historical Figures

Joseph Amato

2010 Hall of Honor Inductee

Joseph Amato was an innovative manager whose knowledge, management expertise, and vision significantly enhanced crucial collection resources and analytic efforts concerning a major threat to U.S. security during the Cold War. His ideas throughout the Cold War improved existing methods and developed new sources in collection strategies, particularly relating to the USSR. His contributions and legacy include the development of new concepts and his direct role in the practical implementation of others.

After service with the Air Force during the Korean War, Mr. Amato became an analyst on the emerging Soviet missile program and telemetry analysis. His expertise was crucial to important analytic problems throughout his career. Eventually recognized as one of NSA's foremost experts on Soviet missile and space activities, Mr. Amato also served as the NSA technical consultant to the SALT treaty talks.

In the mid- to late 1960s, Mr. Amato developed new collection sites in Europe and proposed what became a successful and far-reaching realignment of European field stations that greatly improved intelligence collection. His management of an important overseas site helped establish its reputation for innovation and improvisation. His actions in this decade greatly helped to shape the direction of the overhead reconnaissance program.

Under the direction of NSA Director Admiral Bobby R. Inman, Mr. Amato headed an organizational study that resulted in significant internal organizational changes at NSA. His abilities as a manager were recognized from the time of his service in the Korean War, and he held positions of high importance in the four decades following. When he retired in 1984, he had been chief of two large key components at NSA and NSA's representative to the Department of Defense.

Since his retirement, Mr. Amato has continued to consult within the intelligence community and has served on the board of the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation.