Q: What do you do at the NSA?
A: I am currently the Deputy Chief of Cybersecurity Solutions in the Capabilities Directorate and a reserve Director of Cybersecurity Operations (DCO) supporting the NSA/CSS Cyber Threat Operations Center (NCTOC).
Q: Why did you choose a career in cyber?
A: Prior to graduate school, I was a career Surface Warfare Officer. When I completed my master's degree in electrical engineering, this was the genesis of my career in cyber as an information warfare officer. Cyber is an exciting new frontier in the next evolution of everyday human norms. Cyber usage encompasses so many facets of our daily lives and has become a new way of life from daily use of smart phones that we literally take everywhere with us, to new and exciting ways for human interface and data management.
Q: How have you seen the cybersecurity mission evolve since you joined the NSA workforce?
A: I am really so impressed with the many men and women who work directly and indirectly in support of the NSA cyber mission. There has been a definitive growth in the expertise of cyber experts in both the civilian and military ranks here at NSA, and our workforce continues to grow as the mission experiences exponential change. I am constantly amazed how we always seem to be at the forefront of cyber expertise across not only the US, but also across our partners and allies.
Q: What is your most notable success within the cyber field?
A: I would say I have been very fortunate during my military career to have worked the cyber mission not only in the defensive arena as a DCO at NCTOC but also as an Offensive Chief of Fires for the Navy, and as a Joint and Service Program Manager developing and building the next generation state of the art tools and systems. Of the numerous roles over the years, I would say working as a chief of fires as a Navy Commander was my favorite. There was a lot of personal value and team gratification working with the Combatant Commands introducing cyber capabilities into operational plans and orders in areas that were traditionally reserved for kinetic options.
Q: What are your thoughts on the future of cyber?
A: Cybersecurity operations and development is now and will continue to be the new way of life for many years to come for military planning and effects-based integration. I think of it as the new norm. It will continue to be a driver in shaping the forces that we employ and in shaping defense spending budgets.
Q: What's your happy place?
A: When I am not at work immersed in issues and meetings that consume many of my days, I enjoy spending time with my family especially during the holidays, birthdays or just plain old BBQs in the yard. My family has always been my rock, and they keep me grounded for the challenges yet to come. I make a concerted effort to spend time with my son and support him in the numerous activities he's involved in. I also participate in community-based initiatives ranging from feeding the homeless to supporting STEM initiatives that teach local youth. Additionally, I find my personal "me" time in the saddle of my Harley simply riding down the road to some new place along the highways of the East Coast.
Looking for more information on cybersecurity? Check out NSA's cybersecurity page, or StopThinkConnect.org.