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.

Richard Proto

2013 Hall of Honor Inductee


Richard Proto entered NSA in 1964 as a cryptologic mathematician in the Communications Security Research & Development organization. Across his career, Mr. Proto anticipated the flow of technological innovation, recognized its challenges, and appreciated opportunities it offered for creating capabilities to protect the nation. Serving in key roles in the research organization and the operational side of information security, he worked in security component design, security system architectures, vulnerability finding, and risk management.

One of Mr. Proto's enduring legacies was establishing a culture and community of mathematical expertise that solidified NSA's cryptanalytic preeminence and extended it to include top academic minds in the country. He created programs that brought gifted mathematics students to NSA for sabbaticals and internships.

When large-scale networking was in its infancy, Mr. Proto anticipated cyberspace as a battleground for national defense. He championed efforts to understand emerging threats and develop strategies for dealing with them. To these ends, he created the Applied Mathematics Program to train mathematicians to apply their knowledge to a range of problems beyond the traditional cryptologic mission. He also created the Laboratory for Telecommunications Sciences to focus resources on mastering network technology.

Mr. Proto authored 28 technical papers at NSA. He was responsible for the invention of several information security devices, two of which were patented in his name.

Richard Proto retired in 1999 as Chief of Research and Advanced Technology and passed away in 2008.