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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.

Michael J. Jacobs

2018 Hall of Honor Inductee

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In a 38-year career, Michael J. Jacobs greatly strengthened the U.S. information security posture. He led development of state-of-the-art products and services to NSA’s customers, while improving government and outside partnerships. His vision led to the establishment of the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), which significantly expanded and enhanced NSA’s data and communications protection capabilities.

Mr. Jacobs significantly contributed to the Agency’s recovery from damage caused by a 1970s espionage ring. He assisted in investigations, performed damage assessments, and served as the Agency’s principal spokesman to affected U.S. and Allied organizations.

In the 1990s, under Mr. Jacobs’s direction, the Information Systems Security organization conducted a study of field cryptographic systems, revealing the obsolescence of many algorithms, maintenance problems, and interoperability issues. Based on the Jacobs study, NSA developed a cryptographic modernization roadmap that led to a U.S. Department of Defense-wide strategy for upgrading products/systems and the supporting key management infrastructure.

Mr. Jacobs developed a layered IA strategy that included a mix of government and commercial-off-the-shelf products to protect government networks, including NSA’s own. Moreover, he took the controversial step of putting algorithms approved by public cryptographers and IAD crypto mathematicians into commercial products used to protect sensitive information.

Mr. Jacobs propelled the IAD into a period of unprecedented growth in its mission, establishing NSA as the unchallenged leader in this demanding and dynamic field. He made bold decisions for the good of the agency and the nation, and his dynamic leadership made these moves successful.