NCF Blog/Press

A Message from NCF BoD Chairman Dick Schaeffer

Introduction from NCF President & CEO Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson

NCF President & CEO Laura Nelson

Dear NCF Members & Friends,

After 12 years of service to the NCF Board, Dick Schaeffer is stepping down as Chairman. His outgoing message is included below.

We are grateful for Dick’s dedicated service to the NCF mission and for shaping our relationship with NSA to become a true private-public partnership. Under Dick’s leadership, our mission has expanded, yet we remain dedicated to supporting the cryptologic community and honoring those who served.

Very Respectfully,
Laura Nelson

Dick Schaeffer

Dick Schaeffer, NCF BoD Chairman

Dear Members of the NCF,

Almost 12 years ago, I joined the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation as the President, working with Lt Gen Linc Faurer, then Chairman of the Board. At that time, support to the NSA National Cryptologic Museum was a primary purpose. The focus was on developing a concept and raising funds for a Cyber Center for Education and Innovation (CCEI), and the guiding light (the North Star as I like to think about it) was to:

EDUCATE: ... our citizens to be cyber smart,

STIMULATE: … discussions around a broad range of emerging cyber and cryptologic issues, and

COMMEMORATE: … our cryptologic history and those who served within the cryptologic community. 

Since those early days, a lot has occurred:

I stepped up to Chair the Board, and Laura Nelson replaced me as President and CEO.

We came to appreciate the many challenges of raising funds and dealing with the approvals for a facility that would be located adjacent to the NSA campus and made a strategic decision to pivot away from building a brick-and-mortar facility.

We sharpened the focus of the efforts of the Foundation on Cryptology as a science and enabler for operating in the digital ecosystem where we live and work every day.

We became better fiduciaries of the funds entrusted to us by Foundation members and our generous donors, revising the Foundation charter and adopting a governance structure to guide the actions of the Foundation Board.

We established a more formal relationship with NSA, with a Memorandum of Understanding that assigns clear roles and responsibilities as we continue to enhance our partnership.

We launched a Strategic Planning Process to ensure alignment of our Vision, Mission, Goals, with our values codified in clear statements of purpose.

We began the journey of inviting new members to the Board to strengthen the team that oversees the efforts of the Foundation.

While we slightly modified the North Star I refer to above, the resulting elements attest to the wisdom of the individuals who launched the Foundation over 15 years ago. They now read:

EDUCATE: … citizens to be cyber smart individuals,

DEVELOP: … pathways for the future cyber and cryptologic workforce,

ENGAGE: … and convene partners to address emerging cyber and cryptologic issues, and

COMMEMORATE: … our cryptologic history and those who served.

A lot remains to be done, but I feel that now is the right time for me to step down and make way for a new Board Chair to lead the Foundation on the next phase of its journey. At the Board meeting on December 1, 2023, I had the honor of nominating a newly elected Board member, George Barnes, recently retired NSA Deputy Director, to be the Chairman of the Board. George was unanimously approved, a testament to the respect for George held by the Board. My resignation will become effective January 1, 2024. 

It has been one of the great experiences of my career to have served as President and Chairman of the Board of the National Cryptologic Foundation, to have worked with a group I consider to be consummate professionals who share a vision of what needs to be done to support NSA and our great Nation, and to see the impacts when entities partner to achieve common goals.

I remain as committed as ever to the mission of the Foundation and will continue to assist in any way I can. 

Very respectfully,