A Celebration of Excellence
For more than three decades, the William Oliver Baker Award has served as a mark of excellence, distinguishing an extraordinary individual for their sustained contributions to excellence in intelligence and national security affairs.
The Baker Award Selection Committee selects the recipient on the basis of:
- Sustained excellence in their contribution to intelligence and 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 intelligence and 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.
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.
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.