Let’s Talk About IT Ep. 12 — Securing DOD’s remote workforce, an exit interview with Essye Miller

Essye Miller, principal deputy CIO of the Department of Defense, is set to retire at the end of June.

But before she packs up and walks out of the Pentagon one last time as one of the seniormost civilian IT officials in the DOD, we invited Miller to join Let’s Talk About IT for an exit interview.

During the discussion, we of course talk about Miller’s career, her decision to retire and what’s next — but we also spend a good deal of time on the DOD’s IT response during COVID-19, particularly telework and how important it’s been over the past three months to keep the federal workforce connected remotely and securely.

As Miller explains on the podcast: “We’ve always had a portion of the force that were telework eligible… But as the pandemic began to surge, we pulled a team together — not only DOD CIO, but all the military department CIOs, Cyber Command, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network and [the Defense Information Systems Agency] — and you really had the mental expertise across the department to think through what are those things we need to do to posture the workforce to continue to work.”

And when it came to keeping the workforce secure, Miller said it was a “balance” between educating personnel on their new work environment and reinforcing good cyber hygiene and having the visibility to monitor for any threats that would emerge during this novel time.

“It really was a conversation and an education that we needed to have with the workforce but also with the security of our cyber professionals paying attention to what’s going on,” she said.

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This episode was sponsored by Cisco. See more on how Cisco can help federal agencies boost secure remote workforce capacities on any device, anytime, from anywhere.