Opportunities and barriers for women in NSA and cyber command

Working in cybersecurity A Warren of male-dominated areas within the U.S. intelligence community needs to be navigated. Discrimination continues, but three senior women from the National Security Agency and Cyber ​​Command have given rare insights into how these agencies have evolved – and the hard work that still needs to be done.

The NSA and cyber command agents are strictly involved in their day-to-day work and in the pursuit of certain goals. But speaking of their experience as women in the majority-male case, they may be more innocent, providing a rare window into their daily lives with U.S. intelligence analysis and international hacking activities.

Leila Daumanis joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006 as the first signal collection and processing analyst in Iraq and Afghanistan before returning to the United States. After a decade in action, he became a cyberspace offensive weapons officer based in Japan and eventually a commander working at Fort Mead, where the NSA is also headquartered.

Today, Dumanis is leading a 700-member combat support team for the Marine Corps Cyberspace Command. Her military prowess is exceptional only because of her speed – she tops the most junior teams in her division – but a few female role models came before her to achieve this in the extraordinary male case.

“I have a seat at the table to discuss with our leadership what we should do in our cyberspace,” Dumanis said. “And behind my head – it’s hard to put your finger on sex – but behind my head my voice is always saying, ‘What would it be different if you were human? What would they hear if you were human?’ Sometimes it’s hard to pass.”

This sentiment was shared by Command Sergeant Major Sheryl Lyon, who left Army Cyber ​​Command in September to become a senior enlisted leader in cyber command and the NSA. Leon is the first woman in charge of her role, in which she advises both agencies on how to influence the military.

“As a woman in the military, I mean, it’s a man’s world – still,” says Leon.

“One of my first leadership positions as a Sergeant Major, all my peers must have been male,” he says. “It simply came to our notice then. In fact, many of them didn’t even know how to talk to me and we were getting ready for deployment and our other missions were going on as well. I always say that you have to prove yourself twice and heaven will forbid you to randomize, because if you usually do, you will not get a second chance. “

Leon says some male colleagues acted as effective and important collaborators, but female role models were very hard to come by; For many years it was an arduous process to reach a stage where he felt that his peers considered him equal.

Many of the stories women share are almost universally recognized in any profession, especially in the stem fields. And while the military has a proper track record, there are still urgent and worrying issues Far from the solution.

At the White House in early March, President Joseph Biden said, “We must take action against sexual harassment, harassment and violence against women in the military.” “Sexual harassment is abhorrent and wrong at any time, and many unit solidarity within our military has been built by believing in keeping your fellow members behind you. There is nothing less than a threat to our national security. ”

At the same event, Vice President Kamala Harris stressed the importance of recruiting more women into the army and then national security. “Implementing policies to protect women and ensuring that they are heard and that more women are brought forward on a fair and equitable basis has made our country safer without question,” Harris said.

Daumanis, who worked during his career from the military, echoed this challenge as a response to and response to sexual harassment. “When I joined the Marine Corps in 2006, there was not enough female leadership. About 80 percent of us are women overall, but when you look at the number recruitment, it’s a little more. And then after this first enrollment a lot of women are left out, they go and follow other things, “he says. “Well, I don’t want that to be the case. There’s definitely something wrong with these women. I’m going to be different.” How stupid I was. The year was different than every year I see it getting better.

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