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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.

William O. Marks

2015 Hall of Honor Inductee

William O. Marks was a plank-holder of the Nuclear Command and Control System. First working as a Cryptographic Security Evaluator, Mr. Marks transferred into the office supporting Nuclear Command and Control (NC2) programs in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile community.

The NC2 System that protects the U.S. strategic arsenal is a complex system for controlling and ensuring the survivability, safety, and security of nuclear weapons systems. Various cryptographic schemes secure and authenticate the decision process to meet national requirements to assure the use of nuclear weapons when authorized and prevent unauthorized or accidental use.

Mr. Marks was the program manager of a Secure Data Unit, used in three weapons systems and at Strategic Air Command headquarters. This was a first-of-its-kind device to authenticate weapon system security status, protect the integrity of targeting data, and provide COMSEC for critical launch commands. The unit was fielded in 1972 and used until 2009.

Mr. Marks played a strong leadership role in updating numerical standards and setting minimum standards for design and use of COMSEC measures in NC2 communications. These mathematical standards created some thirty years ago continue to provide the foundation for all NC2 cryptographic solutions.

Mr. Marks influenced the Air Force in a major design and procedural change in the ICBM Launch Enable Panel to combine coding features and the application of NSA protective tamper seals to deter and detect any potential unauthorized modification. These enhancements greatly improved ICBM crew quality of life, enhanced security, and saved millions of manpower dollars by enabling 24-hour strategic alerts.

From 1983 until his retirement in 1994, Mr. Marks was NSA's go-to person for all NC2 initiatives, including NSA's involvement in nuclear release messages, missile and weapon security, and NC2 communications systems. His legacy is not only the foundation upon which today's NC2 system is built, it is also his development and mentoring of the NSA workforce devoted to the NC2 mission.