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U.S. Air Force logo and ICBM in silo.

U.S. Air Force Brat

I was a U.S. Air Force "brat" (military dependent), born on an Air Force nuclear missile (ICBM) base during the Cold War while my father, an Air Force officer, was manning a missile silo, and I was raised on Air Force bases throughout the United States and in Japan.

(Interestingly, regarding ICBMs, a few years ago my wife, daughter, and I lived among active silos in Montana and while I was at MIT I did some mathematical modeling of nuclear war scenarios with Russia, including learning about radioactive fallout and the effects of radiation on humans.)

While this may not seem like a "credential", military brats grow up thinking about security, particularly when stationed overseas. They are issued IDs, which are checked frequently, long before most kids get their driver's license. Security becomes ingrained in them.

My years of work with U.S. Government supercomputers at NASA and ARSC, a Department of Defense facility, required security clearance. My brother, a former police officer, is an ICE agent for the Department of Homeland Security.

During 9/11, I was living in Manhattan, New York City (getting a Ph.D. from Columbia and NASA GISS in supercomputing), where both World Trade Center towers were brought down by foreign terrorists in hijacked airliners. This brought the issue of security close to home for me, particularly IT and security since 9/11 Was Due to IT Incompetence.

Being a U.S. citizen is itself a credential. Having foreigners do IT work, which always includes security, is dangerously foolish; see IT Hiring: Foreigners in Principles of IT Incompetence.

Finally, my education as a U.S. Air Force brat led to me being valedictorian of my high school in New York.

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