[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 81 (Tuesday, June 2, 2009)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1269-E1270]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                        TRIBUTE TO RICHARD PROTO


                          HON. ROSA L. DeLAURO

                             of connecticut

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, June 2, 2009

  Ms. DeLAURO. Madam Speaker, it is with special and personal 
gratification that I introduce into the Congressional Record for the 
Nation and the people of my District, especially in my home town of New 
Haven, Connecticut, the enormously gratifying and important tribute 
that was paid to Richard Proto on May 18, 2009, by the United States 
National Security Agency. who died last July after a hard-fought bout 
with cancer, was recognized by the NSA with the naming of the ``Richard 
C. Proto Symposium Center'' within the NSA compound at Fort Meade, 
Maryland. It is only the second time the NSA has formally named one of 
its facilities.
  Richard was born and raised in the Fair Haven section of New Haven, a 
graduate of the city's public schools--Strong, Fair Haven, and Wilbur 
Cross High School--and the son of Matthew and Celeste Proto, both 
active in the political life of our community at the same time as my 
own parents. Like many of the children of immigrants--Richard's mother 
was born in Italy and immigrated with her parents in 1916 at six years 
old, and both his grandparents were immigrants from Italy as well--his 
parents encouraged education, broadly defined, and a commitment to 
public service as a way of ensuring more fairness in the Nation they 
now called home. Richard was educated at Fairfield University, where he 
received his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1962 and at Boston 
College, where he received his master's degree in mathematics in 1964. 
He then joined the NSA.
  His contribution to the Nation--he served at NSA for thirty-five 
years; its Director of Research from 1994 to 1999--was described by the 
current Director of Research, Jim Schatz, in these terms during the 
ceremony: Richard was ``Universally regarded as one of the Agency's 
most visionary thinkers. He influenced NSA unmatched by anyone else in 
recent history . . . Nearly twenty years ago, when large scale 
networking was still in its infancy, Richard anticipated the emergence 
of cyberspace as a battleground for national defense, and committed 
himself to ensuring NSA was prepared. . . . [His] life was a 
celebration of intellectual power dedicated to the service of his 
country. He was an exemplary American . . . NSA and the Nation owe him 
a debt of gratitude.'' Senator Barbara Mikulski (Maryland), in her 
capacity as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in 
a letter following Richard's death, wrote that ``By any definition of 
the words, Mr. Proto was a warfighter and a patriot. He set high 
standards of performance at NSA and inspired others to conform to his 
expectations. He dedicated his life to the security of this Nation and 
has left a contribution that will endure for decades.'' During his 
career, Richard received the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished 
Service and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. 
Since his retirement in 1999, he remained as an adviser to the 
intelligence community, the national laboratories, and the Institute 
for Defense Analysis at Princeton, until his death.
  Richard's family was present and participated in the ceremony, 
including his brother, Neil Proto, also a New Haven public school 
graduate and now a lawyer in Washington, D.C. and a professor of public 
policy at Georgetown University, and his sister, Diana Proto Avino, an 
educator and mathematics consultant in the public school system in 
Clinton, Connecticut, and formerly a nationally-recognized teacher of 
the year. Richard had been raised in New Haven among twenty-six 
cousins, four of whom made the journey from Connecticut. Richard was 
truly a product of his community and his Italian-American heritage. He 
was a member of the famed 1958 Wilbur Cross team that won the New 
England High School basketball championship in the Boston Garden that 
captured the soul of our community when I was a teenager. Mr. Proto 
also was the founder of the Antonio Gatto Lodge of the Sons of Italy in 
Laurel, Maryland.
  I am personally gratified to recognize Richard; a wonderful American 
who exercised his

[[Page E1270]]

responsibility when the duty was his; who helped ensure the safety of 
our men and women soldiers in the tumult of combat; who rose to the 
highest rank of a dedicated public servant from the neighborhoods of 
New Haven, and who never lost sight of his origins and their values; 
the son of an immigrant insistent on defining America in its highest