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NSA Historical Figures

Richard L. “Dick” Bernard

2018 Hall of Honor Inductee

Richard L. “Dick” Bernard, an electrical engineer, joined NSA in 1953 to work on ABNER, one of NSA’s first computers. He soon was in charge of a groundbreaking team doing research and development (R&D) on a new special purpose computer. In 1956, as chief of three teams maintaining large special-purpose computers, he planned and supervised the movement of these systems from the D.C. area to Fort Meade, Maryland.


In 1959, Mr. Bernard completed an extensive study of electronic intelligence (ELINT) signals processing for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and became the lead in specialized areas of ELINT research and development (R&D) policy. He had a role in drafting the DoD directive that established NSA’s ELINT responsibilities and became chairman of a working group that reviewed all DoD ELINT R&D efforts.


In 1962, successful as project manager for a major new telemetry collection/processing system, he was named project manager for two additional field collection systems in key areas. Mr. Bernard led the first large-scale planning effort for high-frequency signal remoting in 1970.


Throughout the 1970s, Mr. Bernard was a senior manager at NSA or field manager for large-scale collection programs, and was NSA’s senior technical representative in several projects with government and foreign partners.


As director of the Defense Special Missile and Astronautics Center (DEFSMAC) from mid-1980 to mid-1983, Mr. Bernard innovatively implemented major upgrades and new concepts in operations for this critical DoD organization.


Mr. Bernard retired from NSA in December 1984 to join private industry. Since the 1990s, as a consultant to the Center for Cryptologic History, he has written numerous monographs and articles on NSA’s technical history.