(DHS photo/White House photo)

On the Front Lines in a Year of Crisis: 2020 Homeland Security Today Awards

The Homeland Security Today awards annually recognize the people who devote their lives to protecting our people, our resources, and our way of life. From heroic efforts on duty to volunteers passionate about their community, annually we gather to celebrate excellence, honor, and the daily successes of those working on the front lines to ensure the safety of all Americans. 2020 is no exception, although it has been an exceptional year. Never before have we faced so many complex challenges or had to rely so much on our greatest defense: good people. We are proud to honor the following 2020 award recipients.


PERSON OF THE YEAR


The GTSC Homeland Security Today Person of the Year is awarded to an individual who is serving, and has served, the homeland security mission in an exemplary fashion. This individual has directly improved, executed, and/or engaged the proper people, agencies, departments necessary to tangibly improve the nation’s prevention, protection, mitigation, or response capacity forward to make America safer. Two notable homeland security pros share the award in this year of COVID-19, election security and cyber threats.

Chris Krebs, Former Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

The challenges of standing up any new structure in an organization are many and varied. Establishing a new structure amidst incredible partisan strife, ongoing domestic and international infrastructure and operations threats, and a global pandemic – all while being charged with the safeguarding of the presidential election takes leadership of the most impressive kind.

In this nation’s good fortune, Christopher Krebs was at the right place at the right time, proudly serving as the first Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Krebs proved himself a worthy and steadfast leader as he faced great responsibilities head-on, navigating a complex array of stakeholders at the federal, state and local levels while handling a politically divisive environment with grace and subtlety.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Krebs can be directly credited with ensuring essential workers in private industry remained on the job to deliver nationally recognized critical functions. His issuance of Essential Critical Workforce Guidance gave elected executives across the U.S. the ability to balance public health and safety outcomes against infrastructure continuity requirements. His weekly forums with private and public stakeholders built awareness for and engaged emerging federal and state guidance.

In a pandemic-centric world, Krebs’ responsibility to ensure a secure 2020 presidential election was a paramount ask, but his transparency and predilection of upturning every stone to understand cybersecurity and physical security risks ensured one of the most secure and defender-coordinated elections in American history. Through this effort Krebs remained apolitical in his intent and ideals and served the nation as a neutral risk advisor at a time of high uncertainty and incredible national risk.

Krebs has consistently fostered partnerships based on trust, accessibility, unity of message and coordinated actions. He created an environment of executive and tactical information sharing, of common language and appraisal of the risk environment with shared, measurable goals and objectives. Krebs’ personal integrity heralds him as a champion of truth and fact, even though it ultimately cost him his position. Christopher Krebs set the bar for his new agency and proved himself as a multi-dimensional leader whom every American — regardless of their politics, location or interests — has been able to benefit from thanks to his devotion to duty and mission.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 

It likely comes as no surprise to see the name of Fauci at the top of this list. Just as it was no surprise that the son of a pharmacist carved out a career in medicine. And what a career.

A key turning point was his 1984 appointment as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a position he holds to this day. He has developed therapies for many previously fatal diseases, was a leading researcher and contributor during the AIDS/HIV epidemic in the 1980s, and has been at the forefront of efforts to control SARS, MERS, swine flu, Ebola, Zika, and now COVID-19.

This year, America (and beyond) has relied on his expert advice to keep us safer. Fauci not only understands as much as anyone the coronavirus itself, but knows the measures we need to take to protect ourselves — and, crucially, when those measures should be taken. He has been a great champion of social distancing and other protective measures that have become commonplace across America among citizens who want to fight this virus the right way and the only way: with science.

Balancing public health and lives with the need to keep the economy going has been a difficult task. Unfortunately, this often led to political clashes in which the nonpartisan Fauci was inevitably in the firing line. Fauci has often called for earlier action which, as other countries have demonstrated, has lessened the long-term impact on citizens and the economy. He has been frustrated in many of his efforts and on top of this has faced death threats and seen his family harassed. Despite all of this, he remains steadfast and committed to the public health of every American.

President-elect Biden recently announced that Fauci will serve as Chief Medical Advisor to the President in addition to retaining his role at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It is for his nonpartisan leadership through an unprecedented pandemic and his unwavering commitment to a healthy United States that Fauci is chosen for this award.


MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS


Our MVP award is given to an official who modernizes and improves the operations and performance of an agency, component, program or division to increase capacity, speed delivery, use innovation and improve performance. These leaders also focus on the future – developing strategies and plans to address our constantly changing, dynamic threat environment. In 2020, we honor three officials who have done just that.

MVP: FEDERAL

Deborah Shoedel, Intelligence Operations Specialist, Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence & Analysis

An exemplary colleague with undeniable leadership aptitude, Deborah Shoedel brings more than 16 years of experience and historical knowledge in DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), Field Operations Division (FOD) as an Intelligence Operations Specialist. As an administrative subject matter expert, Shoedel was instrumental in the development of administrative and human capital processes from a nascent I&A in 2004 as the organization first stood up as a new federal agency.

Shoedel’s roles are expansive, from co-managing all HR actions within I&A and being a resource for organizational structure to the senior leadership of FOD to her responsibilities for the breadth of Human Capital activities within FOD. It is because of this well-rounded approach to her work that she was sought out to co-lead the management of all human capital actions within the offices under the auspices of the Deputy Under Secretary for Intelligence Enterprise Operations.

Her administrative know-how and technical systems expertise are admirable as evidenced in every contribution she makes, including her ability to support field-deployed personnel despite the complexity of this support throughout the 50 states, four territories and 14 time zones. Her work brings praise and kudos from new hires and established employees alike and her political savvy makes her a go-to resource in handling key issues. Shoedel’s contributions and abilities have benefitted I&A at the highest levels and she has positively expanded I&A’s reputation and significance at the DHS Chief Human Capital Officer level.

MVP: STATE OR LOCAL

Chief Bryan Tyner, Minneapolis Fire Department

HSToday’s pick as MVP this year is a man who has proven a leader and more importantly set the example for leadership to all around him, both personally and professionally throughout his career: Bryan Tyner, newly minted Chief of the Minneapolis Fire Department.

Before his appointment as the second Black fire chief in the history of Minneapolis, Tyner spent more than 25 years at the Minneapolis Fire Department beginning as a firefighter in February 1995. His roles as he worked up the department ladder included fire motor operator, fire marshal, fire captain, battalion chief from 2013 to 2015, and assistant chief of administration from January 2016 until this month. He was president of the Minneapolis African American Professional Firefighters Association from 2001 to 2008, held vice director roles in the North Central Region of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, and belongs to the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, and Black Chief Officers Committee.

All of this culminated in his tremendous leadership during the crisis and riots caused by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota earlier this year. According to the Star Tribune, fire crews responded to 30 intentional set blazes, including the torching of the 3rd Precinct police station set ablaze by protesters. Two people died as a result of the unrest. Tyner, then Chief of Communications and the Public Information Director for the Minneapolis Fire Department, led first responders to literally save his city and perhaps more importantly communicate with the media to help everyone involved understand how the city was responding to the crisis. “It’s been the toughest year for the fire department that I can remember” said Tyner, “between the civil unrest and coronavirus, it’s taken a toll — but we’re coming to the light at the end of the tunnel.”

During the protests, Chief Tyner wrote on his Facebook page: “It’s a few nights into the protests and as Firefighters we are exhausted but still stand ready to serve. Ready to save lives. Ready to put out the fires. Without pause and without hesitation. As the Assistant Chief, it is hard for me to express just how Proud I Am of my Brothers and Sisters who have been responding through the exhaustion, through the rocks and abuse to serve our communities. Please accept my Gratitude and Sincere Thanks for the manner and professionalism in which you have responded. Thank you! You are appreciated…” The department rose to the task of putting out physical and emotional fires throughout the city as public officials faced the pain, wrath, and frustration over Floyd’s death.

Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner gets his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (City of Minneapolis photo)

But Tyner did not — and does not — stop there. On Dec. 29 he became one of the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine and has been a vocal and strong advocate for sharing factual information, warning people of the dangers of the virus, and encouraging civic responsibility to wear a mask. “I haven’t spoken up on this in a while now. But if you don’t know by now COVID-19 aka the Coronavirus is REAL. At this point I’m not concerned with how it originated or where it came from. I just would like all of us who are still around to survive it. So this is a Direct Order from Chief Tyner if that carries any weight with you. Avoid large crowds! Practice Social Distancing! Put on your Mask in public spaces!”

The chief also shared his personal efforts to make the best of the situation, getting a smoker and making a terrible situation even better for his family. Tyner, father to two special needs children, Bryan Jr., who has autism, and Trey, who has cerebral palsy, is also father to a blended family with a total of five children. Tyner has embraced leadership and coaches basketball for Special Olympics.

More formally in the Minneapolis Fire Department, Tyner has launched programs to move his department forward in effectiveness and diversity, including the 12-week EMS Pathways Academy Student Internship certification in which 85 percent of graduates have been people of color and 45 percent are female. The High School EMS Program likewise puts students on the path to become EMTs upon graduation at the city’s Roosevelt and North high schools, and offers opportunities for mentoring in healthcare and the fire department. Tyner told the Minneapolis City Council that continuing and expanding diversity and inclusion efforts means not just fostering greater racial and gender diversity but also diversity of thought and experience.

In total transparency, Tyner was nominated by staff of Homeland Security Today.

MVP: HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Michael J. Diaz, Branch Chief/IC Liaison Confidential Human Source Division (CHS), Office of Intelligence, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

As Watch Commander heading a Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling Operations Team based out of the Targeting Center, Michael J. Diaz aided the agency in seeking out and dismantling transnational crime organizations and endeavored to thwart human trafficking into the United States. Diaz and his team were highly successful, with numerous international take-downs that saved countless innocent lives with effective prosecutions of high-level organizers. In his role as Branch Chief at CBP’s Office of Intelligence – Confidential Human Source, Diaz is IC liaison to the Central Intelligence Agency for Community HUMINT.

Diaz and his team were able to effect an Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) sanction on a Syrian-based human smuggling organization through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Treasury. Impressively, this was the first and only time OFAC has ever sanctioned a human smuggling organization to this day.

Diaz’s personal efforts in these missions contributed tangibly to the effective efforts of the team. His dedication to the cause and the value of human life has saved countless innocent victims as he continuously works to ensure the safety and well-being of our country and its citizens.

MVP: DRONES

Adam Jacoff, Robotics Research Engineer, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Adam Jacoff has been the driving force toward the development of the NIST Standard Test Methods for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. This collection of test methods is used to train and measure proficiency for public safety remote pilots. These methods have now been adopted into both the National Fire Protection Association and ASTM International Standards.

Up until the release of these test methods, there was no other means of objectively and effectively measuring remote pilot proficiency, which is critical to the successful and safe deployment of public safety UAS. These test methods have become so important that the test lanes are now being implemented across the U.S. and even expanded to Japan, Canada, France and the UK. NIST Robotics provides the design plans free to any agency or organization and they are designed to be easy to build from easily accessible and very affordable materials.

Adam had developed and validated this with public safety remote pilots across all disciplines as well as local, state, tribal and federal levels and have developed a database to capture aggregated performance times. This course has just been accepted as one of the fundamental training aspects of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) UAS Program, which has the largest UAS fleet in the nation and an air wing in every state. The CAP also is the primary UAS program to support FEMA imagery following disasters.

UAS have become one of the most significant new tools for public safety and homeland security. The DRONERESPONDERS Spring 2020 Study identified more than 17 public safety use cases (structure fires, wildfires, natural disasters, large scale events, law enforcement tactical operations, hazmat situations, protecting critical infrastructure/correctional facilities and more) and these are continuing to multiply. UAS are significant as they enhance civilian/responder safety, increase operational effectiveness and provide critical real-time situational awareness.


CITIZEN OF MISSION


The Citizen of Mission award goes to an individual who devotes their personal time, energy, and resources to work for causes related to homeland security. Volunteers, nonprofit leaders, corporate employees, anyone is eligible for nomination as long as they devote time and dedicated effort to supporting the homeland mission.

Lester Millet, President at InfraGard Louisiana

A tireless leader, Lester Millet III joined InfraGard Louisiana in 2008, where his endeavor began to make the chapter a model for the rest of the United States. His contributions in planning and organizing critical conference and training experiences have been invaluable and his recent effort, the All Hazard School Safety Toolkit, is no different.

Millet drafted and developed this Toolkit, shared with national leaders, with the intent of it becoming the national model as proved by its success within the InfraGard Louisiana School safety Initiative. It is considered one of the most comprehensive in the country – receiving high praise direct from FBI headquarters.

Beyond his efforts at InfraGard, Millet serves as Sector Chief and Chairman at one of the largest Facility Security Officer Workgroups, where his efforts have been instrumental to project successes. He also gives back to the community through service on more than 10 boards and committees including the U.S. Coast Guard Gulf of Mexico Area Maritime Security Committee. Millet is an example of service and commitment, a man who continuously gives to the betterment of his community, his colleagues, and his country.

Shelomo Alfassa, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Analyst, VIRSIG

Shelomo Alfassa is a homeland security and emergency management analyst at VIRSIG who donates thousands of hours of his personal time each year to many causes that strengthen homeland security both locally and nationally. He is a 12-year member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and has been awarded the esteemed Sustained Service Ribbon on four separate occasions for donating over 3,000 hours of personal volunteer time.

He also is an active volunteer with New York Rescue Response Team, a nonprofit organization where he is a lieutenant and instructor. Among his annual training courses there, he educates local NYC first responders on how to deal with the casualties of chemical and biological terrorism. In 2018, his coordination and actions led to the rescue team being presented with an Official Citation from the New York State Assembly.

Alfassa volunteers with other groups as well, such as the New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service where he championed the organization to formally become one of DHS’ National Preparedness Coalition partners, with the objective to help prepare the general public for emergencies such as terrorism. His volunteer activities directly led to his team being awarded two separate official proclamations from the city of New York. Alfassa has demonstrated that he devotes a significant amount of his personal time, energy, and resources to help both his community and our country to become a harder target against adversarial actors who threaten our nation’s security.


FEDERAL SMALL BUSINESS CHAMPION OF THE YEAR


Federal Small Business Champion of the Year is awarded annually to a federal official who shows a distinct commitment and tangible results toward improving the environment and success for small businesses in the federal homeland and national security market.

Kevin Sherman, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

When it comes to commitment to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) mission, Kevin Sherman’s is unparalleled. His knowledge of the domain coupled with his incredible work ethic has assisted several small companies, allowing them to not only succeed – but to thrive – in helping USCIS deliver on its mission.

As the liaison in this partnership, Sherman has been a key interface with several organization members. His extensive contributions have paved the way for partners to showcase skills and capabilities. 


EXCELLENCE IN OUTREACH


Much of partnership requires knowledge and understanding. Communication between industry and government to achieve the best products and services requires outreach in all stages: requirements building, request for information, effective industry days, outreach through engagement and much more. The Excellence in Outreach award recognizes the agency, department, team or individual that has excelled at engaging, explaining and educating to benefit the mission of securing the nation.

International

Naim Hoxha, National Organized Crime Advisor, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission in Kosovo

Naim Hoxha’s service in the Department Office of the Security and Cooperation Mission / Security and Public Safety Kosovo has been impeccable. He links the security sector so countries may see how best to combat transnational counterterrorism and counter violent extremism (CT/CVE) with unified efforts.

Hoxha’s work with international embassies as well as non-governmental agencies and the national government of Kosovo is as impressive as his understanding of the complexities and actionable efforts required in the linking of a multitude of governmental and non-governmental institutions to combat CT/CVE. Beyond combating CT/CVE, his efforts assist returnees to former war zones, care for victims and develop infrastructure security.

The immense portfolio Hoxha administers, without complaint, and his vast understanding of political and transnational threats in Kosovo and throughout the Balkans is impressive. His whole-mission approach to political matters and interventions and his ability to flawlessly link institutions and render clear and keen advice to assist civil society in efforts to combat the threats are continual and without relief and of true national and international service.

Domestic

Joshua Ederheimer, Deputy Director, Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service
Prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security, Joshua Ederheimer was honing his skills through several positions within the Department of Justice as a Senior Executive. In these roles and in his 22-year career at D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, it was clear that his ability to effectively lead, plan and execute outreach and communication tasks was incomparable. This understanding is the foundation for his exceptional contributions and focus on introducing the agency to the importance of collaboration and benchmarking during his tenure at the Federal Protective Service.

In 2019, Ederheimer implemented his concept for the Protective Agency Comparison Group (PAC), which by 2019 consisted of 12 agencies at the federal, state, and local law enforcement levels. Working with each agency, the PAC examined and assessed best practices and lessons learned across a range of issues and shared that information back to all the contributing agencies.

It is because of Ederheimer’s forward-thinking work and drive to embrace outreach and collaboration across agencies and organizations in establishing the PAC Group that efforts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic were synchronized and clear. Without this cross-agency collaboration, best practices for emergency PPE procurement, field decontamination and even respiratory protection programs, the outcome of 2020 may well have been far different. Most astounding is that this group was not reactionary, it was not trending – it was due to the commitment, continuous learning and elite service of Joshua Ederheimer.


MOST INNOVATIVE CAMPAIGN TO INCREASE SECURITY


People around the nation are working to find creative and engaging ways to help the public understand and prepare for any eventuality. Educating the public about homeland priorities, threats, and vulnerabilities is a critical part of the security equation. The Most Innovative Campaign to Improve Security recognizes a federal, state, local, or private-sector campaign that has increased awareness and preparedness for a threat that requires the partnerships to mitigate and prevent physical or cyber attack, disaster preparedness, human trafficking, infrastructure protection, supply chain security or any threat to the country.

International

Rifat Marmullaku, National Program Officer, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

The striking ability to move projects from the topic of discussion to the tangible realm of actionable outcomes is Rifat Marmullaku’s specialty. As a senior national staff member at the Department of Security and Public Safety Community Development and Minoring Section (OSCE Mission Kosovo, DSPS, CSDS), Marmullaku’s incredible efforts have directly and positively impacted civil society while supporting the Director’s office.

Marmullaku’s efforts to combine community policing and intelligence led policing strategies into a singular robust strategy to benefit the population at large has greatly increased capacities and allowed expanded support of counterterrorism and countering violent extremism efforts around Kosovo and the Balkans. He also contributed to the ease of reporting to law enforcement digital application which is useful to the entire population in multiple languages – even more, it is free to operate and supported by data protection laws.

The professional and unyielding efforts that Marmullaku consistently exhibits make him a one-of-a-kind contributor where he has assisted an entire population and the law enforcement security sector to meet sustainable and useful activities to improve civil society at large. These tangible outcomes are only small examples of the day-to-day contributions that he infuses into his work, making him an exemplary representative of this nation.

Domestic

Florida International University Police Department

Since the Columbine shooting, school shootings and attacks have become more frequent and have never become less devastating to a community. After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, the community was shaken. Watching this on their home turf, the Florida International University (FIU) Police Department chose to step forward and take uniquely proactive and exemplary steps in the prevention of and response to these events.

The FIU Police Department conceived and implemented a single day, two-part training program focusing on the run, hide, fight technique, which has now been administered to more than 4,200 faculty and staff members and is anticipated to open to the student population. The trainings, a combination of presentation and education as well as a live practice scenario, teach beyond the physical implications of this experience – it educates attendees on the psychology of an active shooter’s mindset.

The live scenario training happens unscheduled, in the attendees’ actual work environment with an officer mimicking the role of an active shooter with a path unknown to the attendees. While controversial, the training leaves participants well-equipped with the skills and knowledge to handle such a scenario and has set the bar for other entities across South Florida.

Manuel Garza, Director for the Manifest and Conveyance Security Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Rosanna Robertson, Program Manager, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate

The abuse of opioids such as fentanyl has created an unprecedented public health crisis across the United States. In 2018, more than 67,000 Americans were reported to have died from opioid overdoses. International mail continues to be a route for illicit opioids entering the U.S. These drugs are commonly transported in nearly pure, powdered form. Their concentrated nature and low cost of synthesis enables large-scale drug trafficking to occur via small, inexpensive packages, making mail a low-risk path for traffickers.

As part of the comprehensive government effort to address the opioid crisis, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), launched the Opioid Detection Challenge to address drug trafficking via international mail. The Opioid Detection Challenge was an opportunity for the U.S. government to stimulate an ecosystem of global innovators to address the opioid crisis, identify cutting-edge tools and technologies for detecting opioids in international mail, and rapidly accelerate development of the most promising solutions.

Dr. Rosanna Robertson, DHS S&T, and Manuel Garza, for CBP, were instrumental in leading the first-ever prize challenge effort in CBP to help combat the opioid epidemic. What started out as an announcement of the effort led to 86 submissions with eight finalists. The grand-prize winner, IDSS Holdings, utilized a solution that combines a 3D X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner with automated detection algorithms. It detects anomalies in X-ray images based on the scanned item’s features and physical properties. The runner-up, One Resonance, utilized a quadrupole resonance technology that uses radio-frequency signals to search for specific materials. An alarm is triggered when a signal associated with an illicit substance is detected. As a result of this two-year effort, CBP is now entering into the next phase of this project by operationalizing the winning solution at ports of entry in the U.S.


ACQUISITION EXCELLENCE: FEDERAL


Added in 2016, the Acquisition Excellence – Federal award recognizes a division, agency or effort that has improved the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of the acquisition of technology, products or services that support the front-line missions of homeland security. Projects must demonstrate tangible benefits and improved efficiency in the acquisition process.

CISA National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Services Acquisition Team: Hannah Mousa, Contracting Officer; Kirk Lawrence, Program Manager; and Harry Mourtos, Program Manager

As part of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), the National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Services (NCATS) division supports the DHS cybersecurity mission by performing various types of assessments for Federal, State/Local/Tribal/Territorial (SLTT), and Critical Infrastructure/Key Resources (CIKR) environments. NCATS provides four primary types of assessments in addition to providing support through special projects.

The assessments are the Risk and Vulnerability Assessments (RVA), High Value Asset (HVA) assessments, Remote Penetration Tests (RPT), and Red Team Assessments (RTA). These assessments were historically provided for years through the software engineering institute’s federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs), but the agency wanted to shift this support to industry to ensure real long-term competition and a broadening of the skill sets in that base.

The CISA NCATS Acquisition Team desired a shift to commercially available services for this requirement and needed to develop a procurement strategy that allowed commercial companies specializing in cybersecurity to showcase their strength in performing these various assessments. Instead of lengthy written volumes, the program office needed to visibly see that companies had staff with deep expertise under execution. After deliberating, the acquisition team focused their acquisition strategy to first evaluate experience providing the four types of assessments via submission of YouTube videos. After the government evaluated this experience, companies were advised to proceed to the CISA Assessment Laboratory where company personnel were put through a live skills test in a custom-built skills lab that simulates the NCATS mission.

Companies took part in an all-day, up to seven hours hands-on challenge/demonstration through the Skills Lab simulation platform, identical to the environment that is utilized by the NCATS team
during real assessments. These demonstrations provided the government with the insight needed to complete technical evaluation of the companies and effectively aided the government in the tradeoff to award five $150 million blanket purchase agreements. Initial task orders were awarded under these resultant contracts and transition to commercially provided NCATS assessments is underway, enabling other government agencies to receive these mission imperative assessments which ensure that critical infrastructure is protected against hackers and bad actors.


MARKET MAVEN


Presented to an exceptional individual who contributes in a concrete and tangible way to the efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness of the homeland and national security market. Proven as a thought leader with a belief in increasing individual opportunity, the power of free enterprise and the nurture of innovation to advance and support the homeland and national security mission.

Mark Emery, Principal at Emery Consulting

Before founding Emery Consulting, bringing full end to end solutions to DHS, Mark Emery worked with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) where he was Deputy CIO when DHS first stood up. As Deputy CIO, Emery bolstered many accomplishments including the establishment of the $2 billion department infrastructure consolidation at TSA. Even after his many years of service in that position, Emery continued to support DHS in his retirement through a variety of initiatives.

In his current position at Emery Consulting, Mark Emery focuses on solutions based in partnerships with the product community and service providers. A pilot program led by Emery for Science and Technology, which focused on data encryption, passed all phases and is now fully deployed across financial institutions and federal government — just one impressive success in a string of many.

Emery’s achievements and contributions are only rivaled by the reputation he has built within the community as a stand-up guy who leads fundraising efforts for disabled community members and actively participates in organizations making impacts like TiE DC, which sponsors women in technology events. His passion evolves into action as he contributes in making a tangible difference to the advancement in all areas of IT, human capital and cybersecurity. He makes a difference with every move he makes and is exactly what the DHS mission is all about.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations to these outstanding men and women on the front lines of protection our homeland; I am humbled to be mentioned on the same page. Remember: it is “all about the Mission!”

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