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Brockway McMillan
Second Director of the National Reconnaissance Office

In office
March 1, 1963[1] – October 1, 1965[2]
President John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Joseph V. Charyk
Succeeded by Alexander H. Flax
Personal details
Born March 30, 1915(1915-03-30) (age 107)
Minneapolis, Minnesota[3]
Residence Sedgwick, Maine
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Occupation scientist, government official

Brockway McMillan (born March 30, 1915) is a retired American government official and scientist, who served as the eighth Under Secretary of the Air Force and the second Director of the National Reconnaissance Office.

McMillan received his B.S. 1936, Ph.D. 1939 from MIT. He also served in the U.S. Navy at Dahlgren and Los Alamos during World War II. He joined Bell Telephone Laboratories 1946 as a research mathematician and published the article "The Basic Theorems of Information Theory" [4] and proved parts of Kraft's inequality, sometimes called the Kraft-McMillan theorem (Kraft proved that if the inequality is satisfied, then a prefix code exists with the given lengths. McMillan the converse, that unique decodeability implies that the inequality holds.)[5] McMillan became assistant director of systems engineering in 1955 and was named director of military research in 1959. From 1961 to 1965 he was with the U.S. Air Force as assistant secretary for research and development and then undersecretary of the Air Force. He rejoined Bell Labs in 1965 and retired in 1979 as vice-president for military development. He is an IEEE Fellow, past president of SIAM, and member of several mathematical organizations.[6]

McMillan promoted the development of a second generation of reconnaissance satellites: the ARGON satellite mapping system, and LANYARD, the first attempt to acquire higher resolutions imagery. He advocated maintaining the NRO as the primary United States agency in space reconnaissance. [7]


  1. Laurie, Clayton. Leaders of the National Reconnaissance Office 1961-2001. Office of the Historian, National Reconnaissance Office. 1 May 2002.
  2. Directors of the National Reconnaissance Office at 50 Years
  3. Marquis Who's Who on the Web
  4. Annals of Mathematical Statistics, Volume 24, Number 2 (1953), 196-219.
  5. McMillan, B. (1956) Two inequalities implied by unique decipherability.IRE Trans. Inform. Theory 2: p.115-116
  6. "Anecdotes:The Origin of the Word Bit",Annals of the History of Computing, Volume 6, Number 2, April 1984
  7. National Reconnaissance Office: Brockway McMillan official biography

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Joseph V. Charyk
Under Secretary of the Air Force
June 12, 1963 – September 30, 1965
Succeeded by
Norman S. Paul

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