Fort Meade, a United States Army installation known as the home of the NSA, has launched a new logo, which bears an encrypted message. Can a reader decipher it?

I’m looking forward to my next vacation trip in October, which will lead me to a place named Fort Meade, located between the US cities of Washington and Baltimore. It’s not my first visit to Fort Meade; I have been there eight times before. The reason why I travel to this place is, of course, neither a sandy beach nor a vacation resort – instead, it’s the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM). Operated by the NSA, this institution represents the largest and best crypto museum in the world.

Source: Schmeh

It goes without saying that the NCM is listed in my cryptologic travel guide (co-created by Christian Baumann). In the near future, the current museum building will be replaced by a larger and more modern one. I can hardly wait.

Source: NCMF (used with permission)

Fort Meade (fully named “Fort George G. Meade”) is not a town, but a United States Army installation. It’s the second largest Army installation in the US in terms of population and the largest employer in Maryland. Fort Meade’s main claim to fame is, of course, not the NCM but the NSA headquarters, which is located next to the museum.

Source: Schmeh

Blog reader George Keller (the following photograph shows him with a Winston Churchill double in Bletchley Park) …

Source: Keller (used with permission)

… from New York State has now sent me a picture he received from his son Mike, who is “Director of Public Works” at Fort Meade. This picture shows the new Fort Meade logo, which was launched in April this year.

Source: Fort Meade

According to an online article that introduces this new logo, every part of the design has a meaning:

  • The image of the sword represents the enduring symbol of military strength.
  • The lightning bolt represents the communication, electronics and information technology fields.
  • The key represents the security and intelligence fields.
  • The stars represent the five branches of the U.S. military, each of which has service members at Fort Meade.
  • The globe represents the installation’s worldwide mission.
  • The green color of the globe signifies that Fort Meade is an Army installation.
  • The purple color of the atmosphere symbolizes the joint nature of the work performed at Fort Meade, with all military branches working in concert in national defense.

The meaning of another part of the logo is less clear. Below the sword, an encrypted message can be read.

Source: Fort Meade

Here’s a transcription:

FC80F27A6A1D810CB3047668ECB23987

The article linked above quotes Garrison Commander Col. Erich C. Spragg as follows: “If you look closely, you’ll notice some computer encryption. These aren’t random numbers and letters. With our population, we expect the encryption will be broken fairly quickly.”

To my surprise, I have found neither the solution nor some other mentioning of this cryptogram online. Apparently, it has not been “broken fairly quickly”, but is still unsolved. George Keller and his son don’t know the solution either.

Can a reader solve this new crypto mystery from the home of the NSA? If so, please leave a comment.


Further reading: A few videos and crypto puzzles from the NSA Symposium on Cryptologic History

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Kommentare (5)

  1. #1 David A Wilson
    Asheville
    4. Juli 2019

    US Cyber Command also has letters and numbers on its seal, 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a , which is an MD5 of their mission statement.

    It probably is something similar.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Cyber_Command

  2. #2 Thomas
    4. Juli 2019

    Thus the only way seems to be to convert various plaintexts to MD5. So what is the mission statement of Ft. Meade?

  3. #3 Gerry
    5. Juli 2019

    Mission statement is here https://home.army.mil/meade/index.php/about/mission but doesn’t seem to be the right solution

  4. #4 Klaus Schmeh
    6. Juli 2019

    Mak Ro via Facebook:
    32-character hex. MD5 hash possibly?

  5. #5 Me
    Spain
    6. Juli 2019

    We have references that MD5 has been used before, but it can really be any of these hashes:

    Haval
    LM
    MD2
    MD4
    MD5
    NTLM
    RipeMD
    Skein
    Snefru
    Tiger

    Any phrase can be hashed with the mentioned algorithms, so this is almost impossible to solve if there’s no further indication.