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NSA Historical Figures

Benson K. Buffham

2008 Hall of Honor Inductee

Benson K. Buffham served as a Technical Specialist in the Army Security Agency during World War II and afterward. He made the transition to the Armed Forces Security Agency in 1949 and then to the National Security Agency in 1952. In 1955, he was selected to attend the National War College, one of the first NSA employees so honored.

He is widely respected as an effective and efficient manager, and, is noted for his ability to select talented subordinates and mentor them. As chief of NSA field activities in Europe, he selected and groomed a number of future senior leaders.

In the wake of the Martin and Mitchell defections of 1960, Mr. Buffham was tasked to create the inspector general's office, in an effort to re-establish management standards and restore internal and external credibility. His concepts for that organization are still in force today.

After serving as chief of all four major elements in the Production Organization and as Deputy Assistant Director for Production, Mr. Buffham replaced Dr. Louis Tordella as NSA's Deputy Director. As Deputy Director, Mr. Buffham established standards for the office that influenced its operations for decades.

Mr. Buffham served as the senior liaison officer in London from 1978 until his retirement in 1980.

Benson Buffham established new offices and procedures that continue to influence NSA/CSS operations, mentored a large number of senior Agency leaders, and personally set high standards for management effectiveness.

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