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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.

Mahlon E. Doyle

2001 Hall of Honor Inductee

Mahlon E. Doyle was an extraordinarily creative cryptomathematician whose accomplishments spanned a 31-year career at National Security Agency and its predecessor agencies. As an inventor, innovator, and author, Doyle profoundly affected the design of modern cryptographic devices.

His Communications Security (COMSEC) career began in 1949 as a cryptanalyst studying the new field of electronic key generators. Doyle was one of the pioneers in using mathematical notation to describe the motion of key generators and applying mathematical techniques to analyze them. He quickly established himself as the leading COMSEC cryptanalyst against electronic key generators when he discovered two general attack techniques that helped to lay the groundwork for significant SIGINT exploitations.

In 1956, Doyle joined the COMSEC Research and Development (R&D) organization as a cryptomathematician. By 1961, he had risen to Chief of the Cryptomathematics Division, a position he held until 1977, when he was named Senior Cryptographer in the COMSEC R&D Office. The division was responsible for designing the cryptographic algorithms used by the U.S. and its Allies to protect classified information and the U.S. Nuclear Command and Control System.

Doyle designed the cryptologics for major COMSEC systems that were used by the government for four decades. From the 1960s on, most U.S. government COMSEC equipment used cryptologics that were either designed by Doyle or designed by others based on his research.

Significant contributions to the design of COMSEC system architectures are also attributed to Doyle. He designed key management schemes that greatly enhanced the physical security of COMSEC devices and effected a dramatic decrease in the amount and cost of physically distributing key material.

Doyle was a prolific writer, publishing over 60 papers during his extended career. Most of the papers documented valuable advances to the cryptologic state of the art.

In recognition of his achievements, he received the NSA Exceptional Civilian Service Award in 1980. The citation praised his "invaluable contributions in advancing the state of the art of communications security at NSA."