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We’re Not Bots: Bots Can’t Build Partnerships 

By Heidi Fosnaught, NSA/CSS Communications Officer NSA

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Training the next generation of cyber talent is Emily Fox’s passion. She wears many hats, serving as NSA’s DevOps security lead, a volunteer with NSA’s K-12 STEM programs, open source contributor, and Girl Scout leader. In every role, Fox’s goal is to inform and educate the next generation of women in technology. “Being able to talk to my daughters and students alike about maintaining a secure online presence, visual coding, and what a day in the life of cybersecurity operations looks like motivates me. I want to drive change both inside and outside the NSA.” 

And she is doing just that. Fox builds innovative partnerships between government and industry and frequently collaborates with the open source community on the latest technologies. “I’ve seen industry hyperscalers become titans of their technology space, innovating and realigning their technology to meet and exceed their business goals and objectives. It’s inspiring to me. Our [NSA’s] commitment to community engagement and industry partnership continues to evolve and mature as we learn from and collaborate with each other.” 

There’s a common misperception that once you receive your Top Secret clearance and pass the turnstiles, you can’t do “open source” anymore but that’s actually not true. NSA has a lot of programs that promote employees to contribute to the open source community. One way NSA demonstrates this commitment is by releasing tools like Ghidra, NiagaraFiles, BeerGarden, and more through the NSA GitHub repository. “Sharing our tools with industry helps level the cybersecurity playing field for businesses both small and large. It’s also something tangible I can show my daughters, I can show kids in school, and say look, here is how we contribute. This is part of what I do at work every day.” 

“I was recently talking to a colleague at a cloud provider company about problems in adoption of container isolation technology and what we (industry, government, and community) could do to increase awareness of it. Talking with her about shared cybersecurity problems is a level of collaboration I haven’t experienced until recently and gives me a sense of involvement and impact you don’t really get anywhere else. Being able to learn from each other benefits us all.” 
                                                                                                                                     -Emily Fox, DevOps Security Lead, NSA