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Joseph Mauborgne

In the history of cryptography, Joseph Oswald Mauborgne (1881–1971) co-invented the one-time pad with Gilbert Vernam of Bell Labs. In 1914 he published the first recorded solution of the Playfair cipher.

Mauborgne became a Major General in the United States Army, and in the period before Pearl Harbor was the Chief of the Signal Corps. As a Captain just after World War I, in the 1920s and 1930s, Mauborgne pursued communication advancements in numerous research-and-development assignments, including a stint as chief of the Signal Corps Engineering and Research Division and as commander of the Signal Corps laboratory in the Bureau of Standards.

As Chief of Signal, Mauborgne supported technological development and oversaw the mass production of the SCR-268 and SCR-270 Army radars. Just a few months after he retired (September 30, 1941), two Signal Corps soldiers — using an SCR-270 radar at Oahu, Hawaii in the early morning of December 7, 1941 — spotted Japanese aircraft on their way in to attack Pearl Harbor.

General Mauborgne is a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.


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