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Cryptologic Hall of Honor

The Cryptologic Hall of Honor was created in 1999 to pay special tribute to the pioneers and heroes who rendered distinguished service to American cryptology.

The standards are high for induction into this great hall. The individuals honored were innovators over their entire careers or made major contributions to the structure and processes of American cryptology. The men and women who have been inducted to the Cryptologic Hall of Honor are all greats in the once silent world of cryptology.

In the early days of America's cryptologic effort, many of the "giants" did both Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance. They made important contributions to both offensive and defensive cryptology. As such, they were among the first inducted into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor. 

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Lester K. Myers, 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
Lester K. Myers
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About Lester K. Myers, former NSA Senior Language Analyst, mentor, and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

Dr. Whitfield Diffie, 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
Dr. Whitfield Diffie
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About Dr. Whitfield Diffie, computer security pioneer and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

Barbara A. McNamara, 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
Barbara A. McNamara
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About Barbara A. McNamara, former NSA Executive Assistant to the Director, former NSA representative to the Department of Defense, former Deputy Director NSA, and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

Dr. David Kahn, 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
Dr. David Kahn
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About Dr. David Kahn, Journalist, Author, former NSA Scholar-in-Residence, and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

George R. Cotter 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
George R. Cotter
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About George R. Cotter, former NSA Chief of Staff, NSA Chief Scientist, and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

Ralph W. Adams, Jr.

2015 Hall of Honor Inductee

African American Honoree

Ralph W. Adams, Jr., a graduate of the University of Nebraska, served in the Army Security Agency in Vietnam as a linguist in 1961, and came to NSA in 1965. Widely recognized for his near-native language skills, he served multiple tours in Vietnam as a language analyst for NSA. Mr. Adams served in Vietnam also as a senior language advisor to both the U.S. Army and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). He was one of the final NSA'ers to escape before the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Over the next 20 years, Mr. Adams held positions of increasing responsibility at NSA. In the late 1980s he was chief of a major overseas liaison office. He served, from 1985-1988, as chief of Legislative Affairs. During this time he received the Exceptional Civilian Service Award for "demonstrating exceptional managerial and professional abilities…" In 1987, Mr. Adams' accomplishments in the cryptologic community were recognized with the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive.

Mr. Adams, as chief of a major group in the production organization, the Directorate of Operations, led an innovative restructuring of his group which served as a model for similar efforts across the directorate. This restructuring helped get maximum advantage from scarce analytic resources as well as foster more collaboration and technical exchanges.

Mr. Adams in April 1990, became NSA's Inspector General, then, in 1992, was appointed as Chief, NSA/CSS Pacific. Mr. Adams finished his career as the second highest ranking civilian at NSA, the Executive Director from 1995 to 1996.

Throughout his career, Mr. Adams was a strong advocate for diversity in the workplace and fostered awareness of diversity issues. He was one of the original program managers for the Stokes Educational Scholarships, designed to facilitate the recruitment of individuals, particularly minority high school students.

When he retired in 1996, Mr. Adams was presented the National Intelligence Distinguished Service medal, the highest Intelligence Community award for distinguished and meritorious service.