FORT MEADE, Md. –
Most wouldn’t know from looking at her now, but Keppel Wood came to NSA as a Navy Cryptologist in 2005. Three years later, she traded in her uniform for civvies (what the military calls civilian wear), making the choice to stay at NSA – the mission and the people hooked her. “The people here are patriots, and they come here to solve hard problems and defend the nation. NSA is a great place to give back.”
Keppel recently joined the new Cybersecurity Directorate as the Chief Operations Officer of the Cybersecurity Collaboration Center- 3C for short. “Your network is only as secure as its last patch or latest update, at speed,” says Keppel, who considers herself a computer nerd at heart. “What started as a cool new thing, became a hobby, and evolved into a passionate career. Moving into the cyber world was very natural because it touches everything we do. I look back on my time in signals intelligence (SIGINT) at NSA and it’s lined with ones and zeros.” While NSA’s SIGINT mission collects intelligence focusing on foreign communications and information systems, cyber skills augment analysis and operationalize intelligence. Shifting the mission focus to cybersecurity allowed Keppel to continue protecting our troops and ultimately defending the nation.
Before joining the Cybersecurity Directorate, Keppel’s last assignment was Director of Operations for NSA’s On Net Pursuit (ONP) mission. ONP focused on threat analysis, vulnerability assessments, adversarial emulation, targeted hunt and COMSEC monitoring operations in support of DoD and government National Security Systems. Coming to the 3C, Keppel’s experience will continue to help safeguard our nation through open partnerships.
“At NSA, we have mainly kept cybersecurity under a classified lens. Our partners live and work in an unclassified environment, however, so NSA’s collaboration center will enable us to identify and work on mutual challenges in the same setting, to ensure our government and nation’s networks are secure.”
What does Keppel do when she’s not defending the nation from cyberthreats? Believe it or not, she’s teaching herself python. When she truly wants to unplug, she can be found cooking, boating on the Chesapeake, or practicing yoga.