Submitted by: Robert Barron
Robert R. Barron has lectured on disguises and custom prosthetics at CIA Headquarters, the National Reconnaissance Office, and other government and humanitarian agencies. He has appeared on local and national TV programs such as Fox News, CNN, ABC News and many others, and has been written about in various local and national publications such as The Washingtonian, People Magazine, Readers Digest and many more. Robert served consecutive overseas tours supporting operational document and disguise requirements. At Headquarters, he worked full-time developing disguises that allowed officers to operate hostile environments and denied areas. In the early 1980s, he apprenticed under the late John Chambers, the Hollywood makeup artist famous for the Planet of the Apes series. He incorporated what he learned to conceive, develop and deploy disguises and identity transfer techniques with state-of-the-art latex technologies. Barron was directly responsible for overhead, silicone semi-animated masks (SAM’S) and the “Jack-in-the Box” identity transfer techniques. These capabilities were critical to the Directorate of Operations support of the most sensitive cases. In 1984, Barron became “Senior Disguise Officer,” who spent years perfecting the art and science of developing lightweight and lifelike silicone disguises. He crafted and completed overhead masks. He mastered the art of replicating skin tones on masks to blend perfectly with the user’s skin. Likewise, he developed techniques to transform the user’s race, ethnicity, and gender as required for operational requirements. His supervisors identified him as “an artist and idealist who will accept nothing less than perfection.” It goes without saying that the operations he supported left no margin for error. He retired in July 1993 and was awarded the Career Intelligence Medal for his significant accomplishment and exceptional contribution to the Agency. In 2020 he received the highest award a CIA agent can receive: the Lloyd Salvetti Award. After retiring from the CIA, Barron began his second career as a prosthetic specialist and established Custom Prosthetic Designs, Inc.. Building on his CIA disguise expertise, he produces custom-made prosthetic devices for patients with conditions resulting from trauma, disease and congenital defects. He has made thousands of artificial eyes, ears, noses, fingers, full face and partial masks to correct disfigurements, and enables patients to look and feel whole again.
About the author:
Robert Barron earned a degree in commercial art at Southern Illinois University. After graduation in 1962, he spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. When he received his honorable discharge, he accepted a job at the Pentagon in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations as the art director of Directions magazine, the Navy’s public affairs quarterly. Barron entered on duty at CIA in May 1969 as a GS-5 artist/illustrator. He served his entire 25-year career in the Office of Technical Service, Graphics and Identity Transformation Group and developed deep expertise in both documents and disguises. He is a member of American Legion Post 24. After retiring from the CIA, Barron began his second career as a prosthetic specialist and established Custom Prosthetic Designs, Inc. in 1995. Building on his CIA disguise expertise, he produces custom-made prosthetic devices for patients with conditions resulting from trauma, disease and congenital defects. He has made thousands of artificial eyes, ears, noses, fingers, full face and partial masks to correct disfigurements, and enables patients to look and feel whole again.