Operations and Signal Security Pioneer
Served 1951 – 1985
Jake Provencio was born in Fillmore, N.M., on March 4, 1927. He came to White Sands in 1951 as a security guard and retired in 1985 as Deputy Director of Law Enforcement and Security. During his career, he also served as Chief, Security/Counterintelligence Division, and as Deputy Director, Security Directorate.
Jake worked in all aspects of security and was truly a “self- made man” pulling himself up by his bootstraps to achieve the highest civilian position in the Security Directorate at a time when higher grades were normally reserved for those with a college degree.
He chaired the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) Signal Security (SIGSEC) board and was a major contributor to the early signal intelligence and operational security (OPSEC) surveys conducted at WSMR. His leadership and participation in surveys like Century Fire, Canyon Dawn and Canada Water resulted in the implementation of several programs that molded SIGSEC policy throughout the Department of Defense (DOD).
Jake’s experience and expertise were recognized by many outside the WSMR community as well. The original SIGSEC plan he developed for the range was recognized as the first comprehensive effort to address a spectrum of potential SIGSEC threats and viable alternatives to counter those threats. His efforts at WSMR greatly influenced SIGSEC policies, which are still in effect today.
He also promoted OPSEC methodology as an essential means of information protection. He had the vision to apply OPSEC countermeasures in classified WSMR contracts years before DOD expanded the program and made it mandatory for contractors.
Jake lives in Las Cruces with his wife Kay. The Provencios have eight children, 15 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.