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.
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)
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.
During his 31 years of distinguished service in the Navy as an intelligence officer, RDML Tony Cothron served as Executive Assistant to the Director of National Intelligence, as the sixty second Director of Naval Intelligence, as the Deputy Director for Customer Requirements at the National Security Agency, as the Commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence, and as the Commander of the U.S. European Command's Joint Analysis Center. His operational experience included intelligence duty at every level. He served aboard USS America (CV-66), in Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit One (VPU-1), in Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) for combat operations during Operation Desert Storm, as Battle Group Director of Intelligence aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73 and as Sixth Fleet Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence during combat planning and operations for Operation Allied Force against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. RDML Cothron served ashore in assignments as a submarine analyst, instructor for Operational Intelligence, a senior watch officer, and Division head leading the collection, analysis, and dissemination of timely, relevant, and predictive intelligence for National, Joint and, Fleet forces.
After retiring from the US Navy in 2009, RDML Cothron began a career in industry as Vice President for Customer Engagement for General Dynamics Information Technology's Intelligence and Homeland Security Division. After retirement from General Dynamics in 2021, he subsequently joined Liberty University as an Associate Professor of Government and the Director of National Security and Intelligence Programs.