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NSA Historical Figures

Whitney E. Reed

2018 Hall of Honor Inductee

After an impressive career as linguist and senior manager, Whitney E. Reed was appointed commandant of the National Cryptologic School (NCS) in 1986. At the time, the NCS had a mixed reputation, and he was convinced the school needed a thorough revamping, including the addition of improved technology, to be able to meet mission needs.

The new commandant quickly and substantially increased the number of computers used in instruction and instituted GIGSTER, a distance-learning capability. These efforts not only increased NCS effectiveness at NSA headquarters, but also improved instruction across the enterprise.

To improve the quality of in-house instruction, Mr. Reed created and formalized an innovative adjunct faculty program to bring mission-experienced subject matter experts to the NCS. By recruiting faculty with operational experience, Mr. Reed ensured NCS instruction aligned with NSA mission requirements. To further raise NCS effectiveness, Whitney Reed also set out to boost staff morale. He created special recognition programs for faculty and staff, and planted positive articles about the school in agency-wide media.

Mr. Reed’s influence extended far beyond NSA. He worked with the Defense Language Institute (DLI) to establish better methods to achieve and measure high language proficiency. These measures resulted in better-qualified graduates from DLI, a major source of NSA’s linguists. He also helped develop specialized language training and maintenance for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.

Many of his actions seem routine today, but were highly innovative then. Whitney Reed’s leadership in education continues to impact the performance of NSA’s mission in many positive ways. Mr. Reed passed away in 2010.