Norcom got unique opportunity

Published 10:03 pm Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command does its business mostly behind closed doors — and there’s a good reason for that.

The heavily secured compound in North Suffolk constitutes the majority of, if not all of, the protection for the U.S. Navy’s network.

“We’re the only ones that do it,” Public Affairs Officer Rebecca Siders told a reporter who visited recently.

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So it’s appropriate that few people beyond those who work there be allowed to access the compound. But the Navy recently invited in some high school students to inspire them, perhaps toward a career in the military, in cybersecurity or in the technology field in general.

The cybersecurity class from I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth visited and learned about what the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command does, the different jobs within the command and what the culture of the command is like.

“This is the next generation of people, and we need them to keep going,” Lt. Cdr. Kevin O’Brien said during the event. “Whether they go military or stay civilians, we are educating them about opportunities and exposing them to their options now.”

The hyper-focus on science, technology, engineering and math has gained steam the last decade or so, and it’s important to continue not only to ensure kids of all backgrounds have the proper academic instruction in these subjects but also to ensure teens are exposed to a wide variety of potential careers in these and other areas so they know what is possible both in the armed forces and in the civilian sphere.

While they were on the topic of cybersecurity, the adults in the room also took the chance to teach the students how to be safe with their own technology, a vital and timely subject for high-school students.

We hope the Norcom students took full advantage of the unique opportunity they received the other day and are sure they will take the trip into consideration as they pursue their future educations and careers.