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NSA Historical Figures

George R. Cotter

2020 Hall of Honor Inductee

Mr. George Cotter’s exceptional cryptologic service spanned more than half a century. He ultimately held senior positions in technical and management areas, to include NSA Chief of Staff and Chief Scientist.   

Mr. Cotter fostered technical innovation in many fields, particularly computers.  He greatly facilitated NSA’s entry into high performance computing, and his efforts were key in maintaining the Agency’s qualitative edge over the country’s adversaries.  He worked directly with commercial designers of high-performance computers to engineer devices suited to cryptologic work, and worked with Agency programmers to make effective use of them.   

His influence extended beyond computing itself and into computer security.  As founding director of what became the National Computer Security Center, he pioneered solutions to many network issues.

His expertise led many Directors of NSA to place him on high-level committees outside of NSA and assign him as liaison to other government entities.  With an extraordinary range of representation, he deeply influenced technical developments in the Intelligence Community, the Defense Department and the whole of government.   

Mr. George Cotter played a key role in preserving NSA’s lead in advanced computing, and in fielding a global cryptologic architecture that has positioned NSA and our partners to operate successfully in cyberspace.