William Oliver Baker Award


For nearly three decades, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance has promoted excellence in the intelligence and national security activities of the United States government and associated endeavors in the private sector through the William Oliver Baker Award. Established in 1985 by the Security Affairs Support Association (INSA’s predecessor), the William Oliver Baker Award annually recognizes individuals for:

  • Sustained excellence in their contribution to national security affairs over a considerable period of time, or a single achievement of extraordinary merit
  • Contribution in the scientific and technical disciplines or in other fields essential to the enhancement of national security interests
  • Technical enhancement of unusual significance, management proficiency of a high order, or development or application of techniques that permit cost savings of substantial magnitude. 

Dr. William Oliver Baker’s distinguished career is the embodiment of the INSA spirit and mission. By leading the effort to unify the public and private sectors in the name of national security, Dr. Baker effected profound change in national security and intelligence. In 1984, the Board of Directors of the Security Affairs Support Association renamed the SASA Medal of Achievement Award in Dr. Baker’s honor following his acceptance of the inaugural award.

The annual William Oliver Baker Award banquet stands out as INSA’s premier event and the highlight of the year’s programming for our membership. In the past few years, attendance has nearly tripled, with over 600 attendees joining the INSA membership for a sumptuous evening of networking, dinner, and award presentation with speeches by the Intelligence Community’s best and brightest.

In honor of the tremendous service performed by each William Oliver Baker Award recipient and believing in the importance of recognizing excellence throughout one’s career, INSA established a series of Achievement Awards to recognize the accomplishments of young professionals in the Intelligence Community. Six Awards are named after previous William Oliver Baker Award recipients and presented annually in light of a recipient’s leadership, influence, proficiency, values, team-building, and personal skills in support of the intelligence and national security mission.



About William Oliver Baker


The four words on the medal honor the defining aspects of Dr. Baker’s life – Scientist, Inventor, Scholar, and Statesman.

Dr. Baker was a prominent scientist, former head of Bell Labs, a trusted advisor to five U.S. Presidents, a director and advisor to multiple philanthropic foundations and educational commissions, and a mentor to scores of renowned scientists. During his nearly 25 years with Bell Labs, Dr. Baker and his team made significant discoveries in telecommunications including the laser, satellite systems, and the UNIX computer operating systems, among many others, which set the foundation for the robust technologies and platforms we use today.

In 1959, at President Eisenhower’s request, he developed a plan for the establishment of the Defense Communications Agency, presently the Defense Information Systems Agency. Baker continued to serve his country on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) for multiple presidents beginning in 1956. Dr. Baker also served on the National Security Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board for 20 years. In 1982, Dr. Baker was presented with the National Security Medal by President Ronald Reagan to honor his tremendous contributions.