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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.

James R. Chiles

2004 Hall of Honor Inductee

James Richard "Dick" Chiles was probably first introduced to Communications Security (COMSEC) while serving on a patrol ship in the Atlantic during World War II. When wounds put him out of active service, he went to work at Arlington Hall, headquarters for U.S. Army code and cipher work during World War II.

After the war, Mr. Chiles remained at Arlington Hall and eventually became part of the Armed Forces Security Agency and later NSA. Through the 1950s, he was a member of several panels and working groups that negotiated with the British on COMSEC devices for shared activities. He moved quickly through the ranks in the COMSEC organization and became chief of the Office of COMSEC Doctrine in 1960. As Chief of that organization, he oversaw development of rules for safeguarding cryptomaterials throughout the U.S. government.

Mr. Chiles stayed in the upper echelon of COMSEC circles until his retirement more than a decade later.

Remembered as a brilliant engineer, Dick Chiles was a "conceptualist" with many innovative ideas on how to protect U.S. communications. He was responsible for major innovations in remote keying for COMSEC devices, including high-speed electronic key generators. He also developed rules for the accounting and handling of COMSEC material.

David Boak, a retired senior COMSEC leader, called Dick Chiles "our premier conceptualist" and recalled that he had been "enormously influential in decisions on the final configurations of every cryptomachine and in the evolution of physical, crypto-, and transmission standards over the… decade and a half [after 1960]."

Dick Chiles retired with thirty years of Federal service. He passed away in July 2004.