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Women in American Cryptology

Creating the Legacy

Ann Caracristi

Portrait of Ann Caracristi
Ann Caracristi came to work as a cryptanalyst with the Army Signal Intelligence Service in 1942. Initially, she sorted Japanese Army messages but quickly advanced to cryptanalysis and then supervision. She helped pioneer the application of early computers in cryptanalysis and established a laboratory for studying new communications phenomena.

Her expertise and professionalism responding to tough intelligence problems brought her rapid advancement at NSA. In 1959, she was promoted to supergrade and in 1975, she became the first woman at NSA to be promoted to GS-18. She was the first woman to be named NSA Deputy Director in 1980. Also in 1980, she received the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the DoD's highest civilian honor. After her retirement, she served on many intelligence community panels and boards.