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Veterans Day and cybersecurity

November 11, 2014 -- As Veterans’ Day approaches, I have a couple of thoughts. First, I’m thankful for all of the sacrifices our Veterans have made, that in so many ways it is difficult for many to understand or even discuss. But I also want to thank all of the families and friends who through good and bad have been there for our Veterans, both during active duty and afterwards. Without the strength, support, love and friendship -- our Veterans would have an even more difficult time succeeding in their endeavors.

This brings me to my second point. When I look at our Veterans, I see a phenomenal workforce just waiting to be tapped for this new and critically important mission -- cybersecurity. The skills Veterans bring to the table are exactly what we need in today’s environment to meet the shortage of skills and capabilities cybersecurity requires. Many Veterans have succeeded in technical areas that allowed them to conduct their mission. They are leaders -- capable of adapting quickly to changing situations and making decisions that are risk-based and thought out to multiple levels. They are determined innovators -- who don’t accept “no” or “that’s impossible” as the final answer.

Veterans are also very capable in independent operations, understanding the situation, assessing the risks, looking at the implications to certain operations, and taking charge. All of these traits are what the cybersecurity mission requires.

There is a lot of attention being paid to supporting our Veterans, including hiring, which has an amazing return on investment for all parties involved. Building on these successful veteran-hiring efforts in other fields, our nation’s cyber needs represent a new mission for our Veteran heroes. I am convinced that the public and private sector both need to develop and embrace programs to providing training and certifications for Veterans to address the shortages we have for skilled cybersecurity professionals.

That’s what I’m thinking about this Veterans’ Day.

Michael Brown, Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Retired) is Vice President and General Manager of RSA Global Public Sector. In his role he is spearheading strategy and engagement with the United States federal government, state and local governments, critical infrastructure organizations, and international public sector organizations. Brown joined RSA after a career of more than 31 years in the United States Navy. During his career, he held significant leadership positions within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security focused on cybersecurity.


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