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In the spotlight:

Army Veteran and Cyber Expert Jay Brown

Jay Brown, Army Veteran and Cyber ExpertJay Brown, Army Veteran and Cyber Expert

At the National Security Agency, our mission is an honor and a calling. We support our military to ensure that today's service members become tomorrow's veterans.

Q: How did you pick a career in cybersecurity?

A: I've always been interested in technology; I've always liked video games and things that made technology fun. I think the experience that sealed it for me was in junior high school, when a friend of mine had a freeware computer game on his family's home computer. We copied all of the files to a floppy disk so that I could take them home and play them at my house as well. His father helped him install the game and we didn't really have a good idea of how to recreate the installation. I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how all of the files related to each other and what needed to go where because I REALLY wanted to play the game!

I decided in high school that I'd be going into the Army. When it came time for me to choose a job, I told my recruiter, 'I really like computers; I'd like to do that!' That opened the door to a winding and exciting journey that has led me to where I am today.

Q: What do you do at the National Security Agency?

A: As a Technical Director within NSA, I help ensure that NSA's operational capabilities function. I also chart the future trajectory of how we use cutting-edge technology and tradecraft, as well as ensure that we have a well-trained and motivated workforce capable of rising to any challenge. NSA protects our warfighters around the world. We enable and support operations on land, in the air, at sea, and in cyberspace. We also defend national-security information systems and protect our nation's critical data no matter where it is in the world.

Q: What is the hardest thing to deliver in your role?

A: The hardest thing to deliver is the consistent level of excellence that the NSA is known for throughout the federal government. We are very good at solving hard technical problems and there is often an assumption that regardless of what it is, we’ll find a way to get it done. While this is oftentimes the case, that is an incredibly high bar and standard to live up to. Even with all of that, I love my job and many of my friends who work here do, too. There is always something to do because the bad guys don't take breaks!