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    NIWC Atlantic Cybersecurity Specialist Wins Copernicus Award



    Story by Kris Patterson 

    Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR)

    A Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic cybersecurity specialist was chosen as a recipient of the Copernicus Award.

    Todd Schuff, NIWC Atlantic’s Cybersecurity Service Provider (CSSP) integrated product team (IPT) deputy director for operations, was recently announced as a Fiscal Year 2020 Copernicus Award winner by the Chief of Naval Operations.

    The Copernicus Award recognizes Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel, both active duty and civilian, for sustained superior performance in the disciplines of command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I), information systems (IS) or information warfare (IW). Award winners are selected by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) International and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI).

    Schuff will be presented the award in a ceremony on June 29 during the AFCEA International/USNI West 2021 Conference at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.

    “I feel extremely honored to be recognized in such a way for the job I do,” said Schuff.

    A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Schuff earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and Technology Education in 2012 from the University of South Carolina.

    After graduation, he became a teacher for the Charleston County School District where he taught classes on a range of subjects including cybersecurity, computer networking and information technology (IT) fundamentals at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant. It was there that he had the opportunity to be mentored by NIWC Atlantic employees, who taught him about the command’s role as an IW arm of the Navy.

    Subsequently, Schuff decided to transition to industry and utilize his skills to aid the Department of Defense (DoD) in its cyber mission.

    In 2016, he joined NIWC Atlantic’s CSSP team as a cybersecurity analyst and incident responder and quickly advanced through the ranks of the CSSP team. In 2017, Schuff was promoted to watch officer, also known as shift supervisor, on the CSSP’s Network Security Monitoring (NSM) team, and received a subsequent promotion to NSM deputy lead later that year.

    In 2019, he became NSM team lead, and in February 2020, he was selected for his current position, in which he provides management and oversight for more than 100 cybersecurity employees across six teams and four regional operations centers worldwide.

    “He is a cybersecurity expert who provides vision and strategy as a principal member of the CSSP leadership team,” said Justin Hodges, CSSP IPT lead, who nominated Schuff for the award. “He is a role model and staunch advocate for empowering and mentoring his Navy cybersecurity team members, who are consistently praised for their best-in-class support and insider threat capabilities.”

    Schuff leads his team in providing cyber threat intelligence; cyber hunt and threat analysis; insider threat detection and reporting; attack sensing and warning; incident response and continuous monitoring and reporting for multiple Navy and other DoD networks and assets for which NIWC Atlantic provides U.S. Cyber Command-accredited and Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Network-directed CSSP services.

    Most notably, Schuff’s team provides cybersecurity for networks and systems at Defense Health Agency (DHA) hospitals and clinics across the Military Health System (MHS). In 2020, Schuff‘s team thwarted attacks on the MHS Information Platform, preventing disruption of healthcare services and safeguarding sensitive medical information for 9.6 million beneficiaries.

    “His efforts have positioned the CSSP at the forefront in the emerging DoD cloud domain frontier, supporting Navy and other DoD warfighters at the tactical edge and meeting DoD’s call for leveraging innovation as a key element of readiness and U.S. military competitive advantage,” said Hodges.

    Cal Stephens, director of NIWC Atlantic’s Defense Health Information Technology (DHIT) division, commended Schuff for being an outstanding cybersecurity professional who is committed to NIWC Atlantic and its stakeholders.

    "He excels as a leader and serves as a role model to all of our staff,” said Stephens. “He embodies the spirit of this award."

    Bruce Carter, head of NIWC Atlantic’s Shore Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Integration Department, said Schuff’s achievement greatly reflects upon and enhances the services of NIWC Atlantic.

    “As a senior leader in the command, seeing Todd and others that are quickly moving up the ranks achieve so much reinforces that by mentoring and providing support we’ve done something right at NIWC Atlantic,” said Carter. “These leaders are catapulting the Navy and our command into a much brighter future; it’s exciting to witness.”

    Schuff credited his team members for the successes that led to him earning the prestigious Copernicus Award.

    “I have a large team to thank for my success,” said Schuff. “Our mission is very complex and requires a high level of commitment from all of my team members across the globe. Their commitment to service delivery and constant innovation and improvement make it amazing to work with them.”

    Schuff especially thanked his leaders and mentors for providing him guidance and support, and a healthy amount of challenges that gave him opportunities to exceed expectations.

    “There are so many individuals at NIWC Atlantic that have supported me and presented incredible opportunities for me to grow as a leader,” Schuff said. “This award is truly a reflection of the support of my entire team and many of my peers in the work we do together every day.”

    Schuff also expressed his gratitude to his wife, Amanda, for her support.

    “There are many early mornings, late nights and weekends required to accomplish our mission,” said Schuff. “My wife is always understanding of these often unforeseen requirements to be away from home. Her support helps to equip and enable me to focus on the current mission objectives, to execute and excel.”

    As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.

    Deborah Gonzales, senior consultant, NIWC Atlantic's Defense Health Information Technology Division, contributed to this story.



    Date Taken: 04.08.2021
    Date Posted: 04.08.2021 14:25
    Story ID: 393357
    Location: CHARLESTON, SC, US 

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