Oliver Kirby was one of the select group of officers sent to England's Bletchley Park as part of the American contingent in World War II. He worked there first as a linguist, then as a cryptanalyst. At the end of the war, as a member of the joint US-UK Target Intelligence Committee (TICOM) project, he went into newly liberated Germany and took possession of material from German SIGINT personnel for study.
After World War II he was involved in Project VENONA, the exploitation of Soviet espionage communications. He was one of the few selected to distribute VENONA products to the small group of authorized readers.
First with the Armed Forces Security Agency in 1949, then with NSA after 1952, he advanced through the senior ranks of the production organization. In 1964, he became the first civilian Deputy Director for Production. In these positions, he was a strong advocate for new computer support to cryptologic operations.
In a cryptologic career spanning 25 years, Oliver Kirby was known for his analytic ability and organizational acumen. His insight and understanding of NSA's complex technical and world-wide operations contributed to his ability to represent the Agency in negotiations of national and international significance. Almost always in a key management position, Mr. Kirby directed programs of the highest significance to NSA and the Nation.
Mr. Kirby resigned from NSA in 1968 to take a position in private industry.