US Navy Lieutenant Becomes Cyber Warrior

Computer Science Grad Gets Into Cyber Warfare

Until U.S. Navy Lt. Brendan Geoghegan was selected for a prestigious, but technically demanding, three-year internship that would culminate in him graduating as one of the Defense’s Department’s leading computer networking experts, almost no one at his command knew the program even existed.

The information system security manager for U.S. 7th Fleet is among only 20 Navy applicants selected annually for the program, and the qualifications require a specific skill set. For Geoghegan, this was the opportunity he had worked for all his life.

Computer Network Operations Development Program

His journey thus far had taken him from a teenager programming TI-83 calculators in Chesapeake, Virginia, and to majoring in computer science in college before his current assignment here. Now he is fulfilling yet another goal: being selected for the Computer Network Operations Development Program.

“To put it simply, there is no better place to go or opportunity I can take in the military at this point in my career in which the skill sets and passions I have been honing over the course of more than a decade can be utilized,” Geoghegan said.

He credited his family and upbringing — especially his mother’s influence — for driving him to be where he is in life right now. Geoghegan said several members of his immediate family — veterans, retirees, active-duty members and their long-suffering families — had been catalysts for the decisions he made for his naval career.

Military Background: Navy in the Blood

His parents alone have a combined 50 years in the military, Geoghegan said. His father served 20 years in the Navy as an enlisted aviation support specialist. His mother has more than 30 years in the Navy — first as an enlisted aviation support specialist, then as a commissioned aviation maintenance duty officer. She is currently deployed and underway with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, where she serves as the carrier air group maintenance officer for Carrier Air Wing 8.

His younger brother was just commissioned through the Navy’s medical program, working his way through medical school to become a doctor, Geoghegan said, while his middle brother works with a contracting company that does work on the Navy’s Joint High Speed Vessel.

“My parents pushed all of us to work in whatever field we had a passion for,” he said. “We all did just that. But it was very easy to see the impact that our parents were making for the country, so we each chose our own way to help out, as well.”

Making a Difference as a Cyber Warrior

Geoghegan said he fully intends to use this opportunity to work hard and enhance his skills in areas such as secure system design, vulnerability analysis, computer network defense and computer network exploitation.

“All I really want to do is make a difference the best way I can,” he said. “We have put so much stock in having the best pilots, ship drivers, and submariners. I see this as the perfect opportunity to put stock in building a cadre of cyber warriors.

“I want to be a part of this and I know that I will make a difference by the time I leave the program,” he continued. “We are at a turning point in our history where more people have smart phones than clean water and the next generation is growing up only knowing a time when the Internet exists. In order to maintain military dominance in the international community, I personally believe we have to capitalize on these facts. Building tools and techniques that can be utilized by the next generation is more than a passion for me. It’s a necessity.”

Source: US Department of Defense

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