As a company, we know firsthand the impact that the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) has on the lives and careers of those serving in the military. We are privileged in that many of our team members are either currently serving or have previously served in various branches of the military. Recently one of our Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) team members, Matthew Pagan, shared his personal experience that highlighted the relationship between the DIB and our military as well as the importance of cybersecurity within the DIB.

Who is Matt Pagan?

Matt is an Intelligence Analyst and Platoon Sergeant for a company-level infantry unit and has served in the Marine Corps for nine years. He had his start with CMMC in 2017 while working within the Department of Defense (DoD) Innovation space where he focused on performing NIST 800-171 assessments for Small Businesses. Within SecureStrux, Matt is a Cybersecurity Analyst and Certified CMMC Assessor (CCA). He is an alumnus of Louisiana Tech University where he received his undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems and his Graduate degree in Business Administration. Matt holds certifications as Certified CMMC Assessor (CCA), Certified CMMC Professional (CCP), and Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP).

Matt’s Experience with the Marines

A few months ago, Matt took some time away from his work with SecureStrux to engage in training exercises with the Marines, putting “some rounds down range.” He also conducted briefings to ensure that they were in the right state of mind for future operations. During these sessions, he emphasized the importance of mental readiness and the impact external factors, particularly those in security, can have on a Marine’s ability to focus on their mission.

Matt spent nights in a sleeping bag enduring sub-freezing temperatures reflecting on how the DIB’s actions directly affected those serving in the military. He shared a concerning example to illustrate this point:

Imagine a company that works within the Defense Industrial Base that is responsible for gathering Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI) for military personnel. Due to inadequate safeguards and non-compliance with security standards, the company’s database is compromised, leading to data exfiltration. The sensitive information removed from that database is now in the hands of potentially malicious actors.

The Real World Impact

Matt remembered a specific instance where a Marine under his command had his identity stolen. This was due to a defense contractor’s poor implementation of security controls. This Marine, as anyone else would in this situation, found his focus diverted from his military duties to deal with the fallout of identity theft—monitoring bank accounts, dealing with financial institutions, and the long and arduous steps of reclaiming his personal information.

“What I can tell you is that our troops, including this Marine, are not able to fight to the best of their ability because their mind is focused elsewhere other than the enemy down range.

The distraction and stress caused by such security breaches have a substantial effect on the readiness of our troops. When a Marine, sailor, airman, or soldier is preoccupied with personal security issues, their ability to concentrate on their mission and respond to threats is compromised. This not only affects individual performance but can also have broader implications for unit cohesion and mission success.

A Call to Action for the DIB

Matt’s message was clear: if you are part of the Defense Industrial Base, remember the gravity of your role. The security measures you implement—or the lack thereof—can have a direct impact on the lives of those who serve our country. Our troops rely on your diligence in safeguarding their information, which in turn supports their ability to focus on the primary mission: defending our nation.

Conclusion

The Defense Industrial Base plays an imperative role in national security, not just through the services it provides but through the security practices it employs. By maintaining robust cybersecurity measures and ensuring compliance with all relevant standards, companies within the DIB can significantly enhance the operational effectiveness of our military personnel.

At SecureStrux, we are committed to supporting the DIB in achieving the highest standards of cybersecurity. We urge all companies within the DIB to take Matt’s experience to heart and recognize the impact of security practices on the lives and effectiveness of our troops.

SecureStrux

SecureStrux

As a cybersecurity firm with deep roots in the Department of Defense (DoD) cybersecurity community, we provide specialized services in the areas of compliance, vulnerability management, cybersecurity strategies, and engineering solutions. Since 2013, we’ve partnered with hundreds of organizations within and outside the DoD to understand and proactively manage their risk. Our strength within the DoD has allowed us to easily translate best practices to our clients in other industries including Energy, Manufacturing, Architecture, Education, and Aerospace.

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