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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.

Rear Admiral Joseph N. Wenger, USN

2005 Hall of Honor Inductee

Rear Admiral Joseph N. Wenger played a leading role in the development of both the Naval Security Group Command and the National Security Agency, and was one of the most influential figures in American cryptologic history. He was a pioneer in the development of machines for use in cryptanalysis, and was among the first to recognize the need for centralization within the naval Communications Intelligence (COMINT) establishment. More than anyone else, he was responsible for establishing a Navy-wide cryptologic organization.

After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1923, he rotated between sea duty and OP-20-G, the Navy's cryptologic element. As a radio intelligence officer for the Asiatic Fleet from 1932 to 1934, his reports on Japanese Imperial Fleet maneuvers demonstrated the importance of traffic analysis. Later, he helped create OP-20-G's Pacific Ocean collection network, and also played an important role in launching the Navy's effort in machine processing.

After Pearl Harbor, Rear Admiral Wenger assisted in designing the reorganization of the Navy's COMINT structure, changing OP-20-G from decentralized to centralized operations. After the war ended, he served as a Deputy Director for COMINT at the Armed Forces Security Agency, and in 1952 became Vice Director of NSA. In 1953, Rear Admiral Wenger received the National Security Medal from President Eisenhower for his planning and organizational work in communications research. After his retirement from the Navy in 1958, he continued to serve as a member of NSA's Scientific Advisory Board.

Rear Admiral Wenger's professional involvement in cryptology ended only with his death in 1970.