HomeAbout UsCryptologic HeritageHistorical Figures and PublicationsHall of Honor

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. 

Honor - Bio - ArticleCS - Dashboard - DRAFT

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.

Virginia Jenkins Riley

2015 Hall of Honor Inductee

The variety of Virginia Riley's accomplishments in four decades at NSA confirms her status as a consummate cryptologist: linguist, cryptanalyst, teacher, computer practitioner, researcher, and senior manager. To each role she brought intellect, imagination, and sensitivity.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa with degrees from Miami University of Ohio and Duke Ms. Riley began her career at NSA in 1953 as a linguist. She became a self-taught cryptanalyst and computer programmer -- well before NSA had curricula or infrastructure for computer-assisted analysis.

In the early 1960s, Ms. Riley was one of the designers and programmers of a general program written for the UNIVAC 490, the first computer designed specifically for real-time applications at NSA. Included in this program package was a statistical program which Ms. Riley implemented for general use; it became one of the most widely used diagnostic tools available to cryptanalysts at that time.

In the late 1960s, Ms. Riley moved to the Cryptanalysis Department at the National Cryptologic School. There, she developed a new course in Cryptanalytic Diagnostics, which was highly creative in its methodology and was a stunning success. When Ms. Riley later assumed leadership of the CA Department, she reviewed and rewrote the entire CA curriculum, updating it, and taking advantage of new learning technologies. She introduced self-paced as well as computer-assisted training into the NCS.

Ms. Riley became chief of Personnel (M3), where she introduced a new twist to the college recruitment program: working analysts were teamed with personnel specialists so potential recruits on campuses could meet and talk with enthusiastic SIGINTers.

In the course of her multifaceted career, Ms. Riley also served as president of three of the Agency's learned organizations: the Crypto Mathematics Institute, the Computer and Information Science Institute, and the Human Resources Management Association, which she helped found.