Meet Our Defenders

Defending against sophisticated cyber threats takes more than technology. It takes people. People with skills and innate qualities to outpace today’s evolving threat landscape. Qualities we call “defender DNA.”

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Joe McMann | Cyber Strategy Lead

What drives you to be a Defender?

The feeling of being secure is not just a nice-to-have, it is a must-have. It provides us the stable emotional foundation from which to focus on other aspects of our daily lives. The opportunity to have a positive impact and make an impact on someone else’s ability to defend what’s theirs (be that a corporate enterprise, proprietary data, or personal information) is a huge driver in my career.

What is your strongest defender DNA quality?

I love the sense of “mission” that comes with being an active and committed Defender. When I’m engaged in any activity that puts me in a situation to battle (so-to-speak) an adversary, I want to think both tactically and strategically. This isn’t a just a one-time event for me; I make it my mission to ensure that whatever I’m responding to today will not be a problem for me tomorrow.

How do you prove you have defender DNA?

You still have to enjoy getting your hands dirty. There are unique challenges at every level of network defense, from the first line analyst all the way up to the C-Suite. Only by jumping into the fray wherever I can – either at the daily operational level (incident response, cyber intelligence analysis, etc.) or the programmatic level (organizational design, architecture planning, etc.) can I maintain awareness and understanding of the entire strategic landscape.

How does your defender DNA benefit Leidos clients?

There is no substitute for experience. I had the good fortune of entering this field as a hands-ondefender during the very early days of Advanced Persistent Threat activity targeting the US Government and its cleared defense contractors. During my years defending both commercial and government enterprises, I’ve lived through many different scenarios and learned to adapt on the fly, thinking both tactically and strategically to meet whatever challenge is laid before me or my customers.