GEN Paul M. Nakasone, USA (Ret.) to Receive 2024 William Oliver Baker Award

February 05, 2024

Former Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and Director, NSA/CSS to be honored at June 1 dinner in Washington D.C.

Arlington, VA (February 5, 2024) - The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) today announced that retired GEN Paul M. Nakasone, USA will receive the organization's 2024 William Oliver Baker Award. Established in 1984, the Baker Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to U.S. intelligence and national security affairs.

A retired four-star general, Nakasone's distinguished 38-year career in the U.S. Army culminated in 2024 with his service as the first commander of U. S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) as a unified combatant command and Director, National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Security Service (CSS).

"General Nakasone's tenure at Cyber Command and NSA has been nothing short of remarkable. His visionary leadership reshaped the national security landscape, enhancing our cyber defenses through innovative strategies like 'Persistent Engagement' and 'Hunt Forward.' His steadfast commitment to partnership and collaboration, with industry, agencies, and allies alike, underscores his unwavering dedication to the defense and prosperity of our nation," said INSA Chairwoman Letitia A. Long. "With gratitude for his exceptional service, we look forward to honoring Paul at the Baker dinner this summer."

GEN Nakasone assumed command of USCYBERCOM in 2018 when the organization was elevated to a unified combatant command, steering it into a new era for military cyber operations. Under his leadership, the Command implemented 'persistent engagement,' and 'hunt forward operations', paradigm shifts that reshaped the military's doctrine for joint cyberspace operations.

At NSA his accomplishments include a robust commitment to partnership and information sharing. In 2019, he established NSA’s Cybersecurity Directorate to unify the agency’s foreign intelligence and cyber defense missions, with the goal to quickly declassify threat intelligence to share with partners and the Defense Industrial Base.  

In a first for the agency, GEN Nakasone launched the public-facing Cybersecurity Collaboration Center (CCC) in 2022, which allowed cybersecurity experts from a range of industries to sit side-by-side with NSA analysts, sharing insights, tradecraft, and threat information. By the end of 2023, the CCC had tripled its partnerships and scaled its 'cybersecurity as a service' program to include small-to-medium businesses within the DIB – increasing enrollments by 400 percent.  

Other key leadership assignments included serving as Commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command and Commander Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command. Over his career, GEN Nakasone held leadership roles at the company, battalion, and brigade levels and served as the senior intelligence officer in numerous assignments. Overseas, he served in Joint and Army assignments in the Republic of Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His most recent overseas posting was as Director of Intelligence, J2, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Throughout his career, GEN Nakasone earned numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster), the Defense Superior Service Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Army Achievement Medal (with four oak leaf clusters), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Combat Action Badge, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.

“I am honored to join the impressive list of outstanding individuals who have received the William Oliver Baker Award over the past four decades,” said GEN Nakasone. “I applaud Dr. Baker’s pioneering ways in telecommunications along with his efforts to unify public and private sections in support of national security. I will proudly share this prestigious award with the Command and Agency’s dedicated team members who work hard each day to solve the nation’s most difficult problems.”

A graduate of the U.S. Army War College, the Command and General Staff College, and Defense Intelligence College, GEN Nakasone holds graduate degrees from the U.S. Army War College, the National Defense Intelligence College, and the University of Southern California. 

The Baker Award recognizes individuals who made sustained contributions or single achievements of extraordinary merit to the intelligence and national security affairs of the United States. Previous recipients include former U.S. Cyber Command Deputy Commander Vince Stewart, former Secretary of Homeland Security Gov. Tom Ridge, and former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Hon. Sue Gordon. The Award Selection Committee is comprised of members from INSA’s board of directors.