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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.

Portrait of Minnie McNeal Kenny
Minnie McNeal Kenny
By | Dec. 15, 2020
The NSA career of Minnie McNeal Kenny, Hall of Honor and African American Honoree.

George R. Cotter

2020 Hall of Honor Inductee

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Mr. George Cotter’s exceptional cryptologic service spanned more than half a century. He ultimately held senior positions in technical and management areas, to include NSA Chief of Staff and Chief Scientist.   

Mr. Cotter fostered technical innovation in many fields, particularly computers.  He greatly facilitated NSA’s entry into high performance computing, and his efforts were key in maintaining the Agency’s qualitative edge over the country’s adversaries.  He worked directly with commercial designers of high-performance computers to engineer devices suited to cryptologic work, and worked with Agency programmers to make effective use of them.   

His influence extended beyond computing itself and into computer security.  As founding director of what became the National Computer Security Center, he pioneered solutions to many network issues.

His expertise led many Directors of NSA to place him on high-level committees outside of NSA and assign him as liaison to other government entities.  With an extraordinary range of representation, he deeply influenced technical developments in the Intelligence Community, the Defense Department and the whole of government.   

Mr. George Cotter played a key role in preserving NSA’s lead in advanced computing, and in fielding a global cryptologic architecture that has positioned NSA and our partners to operate successfully in cyberspace.