The “Red Tie” Award

Every year during the NIP Spring “Red Tie” Luncheon, the Red Tie Award is given out to someone who has made significant and long-lasting contributions to naval intelligence. The luncheon and award have evolved over time from the the early days (1960) when it specifically involved Soviet Naval analysts. While the 1960 luncheon included only ONI analysts, it quickly expanded to include British and Canadian counterparts. Then, after DIA was founded and many ONI analysts moved to DIA in 1962, it was attended by ONI, DIA, Brits and Canadians. From there it spread to all those who were Soviet Navy analysts, wherever they worked, and ultimately to any naval intelligence professional. In 1983 the informal "Order of the Red Tie" initiated the Dworkin Award to recognize excellence in analysis of the Soviet Navy problem and in 1988 NIP initiated the first Red Tie Award in recognition of lifetime achievement in Naval Intelligence.

ONI’s Soviet Naval Analysts proudly wore scarlet foulards decorated with embroidered Sverdlov-class cruisers and the Hammer and Sickle to their annual luncheon honoring analytic excellence on the maritime threat. The original Red “Tie” (designed in the mid-to-late 1960s) was embossed with red stars that were superimposed on anchors. While the design of the Red Tie has since evolved, it has always remained true to the original spirit. In that vein and to meet the challenges of the 21st century, there is a new design for the venerable Red Tie that features the proud NIP logo to commemorate the renaissance of America’s oldest intelligence service. 

Original Red Tie
NIP Red Tie

Key Dates in Red Tie History

1960: First Red Tie Luncheon
1983: Red Tie Association gives out first “Dworkin Award” to recognize excellence in Soviet Navy analysis during annual “informal luncheon”
1988: NIP awards its first Red Tie Award (under NIP sponsorship)
1991: NIP assumes sponsorship of all things Red Tie (Luncheon and Award)


2024 Red Tie Awardees

LCDR Terry Wilton, U.S. Navy (Retired) — Posthumously

Through his distinguished 45-year Navy and Intelligence Community career, Terry Wilton earned the respect, admiration, and appreciation of all Naval Intelligence Professionals.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1977, Terry earned his NFO wings in 1978. After his first tour, he transitioned to the Naval Intelligence community (1630). His sea tours included Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron VAQ-134 intelligence officer and Air Wing 17 Intelligence Officer. His shore tours included standing the watch and managing special programs in some of our Navy’s, and our Intelligence Community’s premiere commands.

After retiring in 1994, Terry continued his service as a contractor and career Naval Intelligence officer, contributing immeasurably to our nation's security and helping to strengthen and expand some of our nation’s most critical intelligence programs and partnerships.

Vice Admiral (Ret) Jake Jacoby, during his tenure as NIP Chair, recruited Terry to be the NIP Executive Director, a position he held from 2009 until his passing in 2024. In that capacity, Terry was the face of every NIP function for 15 years, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure everything related to NIP ran smoothly. A humble servant-leader, Terry provided instrumental support to the national leadership team for five consecutive NIP Chairs and six NIP Presidents.

Terry Wilton dedicated his entire adult life to service to others and epitomized the ethos of our profession – a quiet warrior just getting the job done. He truly distinguished himself and we honor his contributions to NIP, Naval Intelligence, our Navy, and our Nation.

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Mr. Michael R. Borland

Michael R. Borland has earned the respect, admiration, and appreciation of all Naval Intelligence Professionals through his long and distinguished 37-year career in Naval Intelligence.

He began his career in Naval Intelligence in 1987, following graduation from Johns Hopkins University, as an Operational Intelligence (OPINTEL) analyst focusing on the Soviet Navy. From 1998 to 2001 he was the first Naval Intelligence Manager of a special bilateral intelligence collection program. Mr. Borland served as ONI’s Operations Officer from 2001 to 2003 and was a key leader for ONI during the critical post-9/11 period, for which he was recognized with the Navy's Superior Civilian Service Award.

Subsequently, during his three years as program manager of the ONI Special Programs Office, he saw the program through a Congressionally directed transition and secured modernization funding for the effort. While serving as ONI's Senior Advisor for Collection Operations, he received the Presidential Rank Award (in 2015). Mr. Borland also served as the Deputy Commander of ONI from 2017 to 2019 until the position was permanently filled.

His current service as Senior Advisor for Collection and Partnerships has been truly transformational in ensuring that Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets are optimized to face the challenges of peer adversaries. As an early recognizer of Great Power Competition (GPC) and the coming need for a Pacific pivot by the U.S. Navy, Mr. Borland has worked creatively and in painstaking detail to increase Allied collaboration and capacity in the North Atlantic Ocean and Norwegian Sea, regions that are the crucible of strategic competition in the Euro-Atlantic Theater.

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CAPT Dave McMunn


Melissa Drisko (Posthumously)


George Fedoroff and Dennis Harry (Posthumously)


Tish Long


VADM Jake Jacoby, USN, Retired


CAPT Roger Granum, USN, Retired


RADM Rick Porterfield, USN, Retired


No Award


CAPT Tony Sesow, USN, Retired


CAPT Lou Martinez, USN, Retired


CAPT Sid Wood, USN, Retired


Jim Sloan


VADM Earl Rectanus, USN, Retired


VADM Mike McConnell, USN, Retired


ADM Bobby Inman, USN, Retired


 LtCol John Guenther, USMC, Retired


CAPT Frank Notz, USN, Retired (Posthumously)


ADM Bill Studeman, USN, Retired


CAPT Bill Hatch, USN, Retired


Paul Lowell 

1999: CAPT Dick Bates, USN, Retired
1998: Rich Haver
1997: RADM Sumner Shapiro, USN, Retired
1996: RADM Tom Brooks, USN, Retired
1995: Lou Tordella
1994: CAPT J.Q. Edwards, USN, Retired
1993: RADM Mac Showers, USN, Retired
1992: CAPT Wyman Packard, USN, Retired
1991: CDR Bob Herrick, USN, Retired
1990: CAPT Emory Sourbeer, USN, Retired
1989: RADM Sam Frankel, USN, Retired
1988: CAPT Bill Manthorpe, USN, Retired

Previous Red Tie Awardees

RDML Tony Cothron
2023: RDML Tony Cothron
CAPT Dave McMunn
2022: CAPT Dave McMunn
2021: RADM (Ret) Sam Cox
NIP President, RDML (Ret) Tony Cothron, presents award to RADM (Ret) Sam Cox  
Melissa Drisko
2020: Melissa Drisko (posthumously)
Read more about Melissa's award
2019 Red Tie award to Lynn Wright
2019: Lynn Wright
NIP President RADM (Ret) Tony Cothron presents award to Lynn Wright 
DC Chapter Lunch Cothron Presentation
2018: Rear Admiral Tony Cothron presents the Red Tie Award to former NIP Capitol Chapter President Mr. Dennis Harry's niece and her husband on Apr 18, 2018. Mr. Harry passed away in April 2017.