The Crowdstrike Foundation recently awarded one of their inaugural NextGen Scholarships to George D. Hasseltine, a Marine Corps officer and member of the Brown University Executive Master in Cybersecurity (EMCS) Class of 2019.
Commenting on his decision to join the EMCS program that this scholarship will support, Hasseltine shared,
As a military commander, I increasingly observed fellow leaders who recognized the critical importance of cybersecurity, but were unprepared to make the cyber domain tangible and relevant — especially against a determined and capable adversary. I chose EMCS to prepare me to integrate cybersecurity into military operations while expanding my understanding of this challenging environment.
Hasseltine’s military career has included combat service in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and progressive leadership positions that included command of the First Reconnaissance Battalion in Camp Pendleton, California. He is currently stationed in the Bay Area serving as the 23rd Marine Regiment Inspector-Instructor — an active duty command position charged with ensuring that the reserve component of the Marine Corps is prepared to mobilize and deploy in time of war. This position covers the duties of a chief operating officer and chief of staff for an organization comprised of 4,500 personnel distributed across 22 sites in 12 states.
Midway through EMCS, Hasseltine explained the unique benefits of the program in terms of his colleagues and the Brown faculty.
First and foremost, EMCS offers a tremendous and diverse cohort of students from across government and private industry. The intensity of the program forges these varied perspectives into a team with a pack-like mentality, challenging each other while attacking problems together. In the EMCS program, you learn as much from your peers as from the faculty.
Secondly, the faculty and network of Brown bring technical expertise of the highest caliber with knowledge across all of the domains of cybersecurity. Together, they have broadened my knowledge and expanded my perspective while demonstrating innovative opportunities to integrate cybersecurity into every aspect of the business.
Below are excerpts from the essay he submitted for the CrowdStrike Foundation NextGen scholarship award:
Why are you passionate about cybersecurity?
…Cybersecurity not only sits in the intersection of technology and strategy, it constantly pushes the envelope of human ambition and creativity. It requires leaders who can bridge the gap between decision-makers and technical experts.
What are the major weaknesses in cybersecurity?
…Cybersecurity is a fundamentally human based industry. Some studies assess that close to 90% of the cyber-attacks are attributed to human error, and while most governments and businesses position the bulk of their resources against the technical aspects of the problem, the real issue driving the surge and sophistication of cyber-attacks is the human factor. Computers are distinctly human creations which therefore reflect their designer and are as vulnerable or protected as their user.
How would you address this vulnerability?
…Ultimately, technical defenses must be sustained by employees that are trained to trust their instincts and know when to ask before clicking. This is developed and maintained by cybersecurity education and organizational culture.