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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.

David Boak

2010 Hall of Honor Inductee


David Boak was a communications security (COMSEC) professional who developed new schemes for determining the strength of cryptographic equipment, but he was particularly known for his publications. Most prominent among these is his series of lectures on Communications Security, known as the "Boak Papers," a collected work often compared in its scope and influence with William Friedman's famous lectures on communications intelligence (COMINT). A reprint of one of his writings came to the attention of the National Defense University, which incorporated it into current coursework.

Mr. Boak's basic principles in determining the strength of cryptographic equipment are still used today. His tenets directly and significantly contributed to how prospective secure communications are tested and evaluated. His impact in adding practical security features to existing systems was particularly significant in the Vietnam War and should be considered an important factor in saving American lives in combat. Mr. Boak was also an important figure in developing stringent standards for security in nuclear command and control.

Immediately after World War II, Mr. Boak quickly became an expert on COMSEC, a predecessor to Information Assurance, and proposed core changes to COMSEC doctrine that greatly improved the security of communications equipment.

While serving as commandant of the National Cryptologic School, Mr. Boak presided over the school's expansion. He improved the scope and quality of instruction by promoting new methods of delivering training that took advantage of emerging technologies.

As an enlisted man in the Office of Strategic Services in World War II, David Boak made two combat parachute jumps: one in France, and one in China. His subsequent work at NSA protected his country and the lives of those engaged in direct combat.

Mr. Boak retired from NSA in 1986 and died in Annapolis on April 9, 2006.