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NSA Historical Figures

Francis Raven

2005 Hall of Honor Inductee

Francis A. Raven is remembered as one of NSA's top cryptanalysts. After graduating from Yale in 1934, he received a commission in the Naval Reserve and quickly earned a reputation as a bright and talented cryptologist. Activated to full-time duty in 1940, he served initially as a communications security officer. He developed an interest in the analysis of cipher machines and focused his attention on Japanese cryptosystems.

Mr. Raven's primary contribution during World War II was the breaking of Japanese low-level cipher messages. Later in the war, he broke the Japanese naval system known as JADE, a relative of the high-grade PURPLE diplomatic cipher. As part of an American-British team, he also played a central role in breaking the Japanese naval attaché machine system known as CORAL.

Mr. Raven joined the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) in 1949. He served as the Deputy Technical Director for Production at AFSA, and continued in that position when AFSA became NSA in 1952. He became only the fourth NSA employee to receive a "supergrade" promotion in 1956. He expanded and modernized the scope of training at NSA, originating NSA's Junior Mathematicians Program and developing basic and senior cryptologic courses (CY-100 and CY-600). For his accomplishments, he received the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Award, NSA's Exceptional Civilian Service Award, and NSA's Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

Mr. Raven retired from NSA in 1974 and passed away in December 1983.