Keith Cooperman, vice president of business development at Millennium Corporation, spoke with ExecutiveGov about recently joining the company as well as the factors that led him to the role and the most critical challenges that federal executives and leaders are facing as cybersecurity continues to rise in importance during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“The speed at which cyber threats emerge and metastasize doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. Sometimes you only have minutes or seconds to make decisions that impact the mission or change the course of an organization. You may think you have a great cybersecurity plan in place, but that could all change at any time if you’re not constantly on the lookout for new threats and are ready to respond.”
You can read the full interview with Keith Cooperman below:
ExecutiveGov: Congrats on recently joining the company back in April! Why did you want to join the company and what were the attributes of its mission that attracted you to the role? What do you hope to accomplish with the company?
Keith Cooperman: “I was really interested in Millennium because of our capabilities and what we’ve been able to do in the cybersecurity realm. It’s an area that is definitely applicable to what’s happening in the world today and driving our future.
There was a really interesting pull for me to join Millennium. Everyone I met during the process was absolutely focused on supporting the mission and doing right by our customers. Millennium is also just a fun place to work with a bunch of cool characters.
The bulk of my career has been spent in and supporting the intelligence community. I got my start as an analyst for the CIA. Over the last two decades, I have been on the industry side and spent a lot of my time supporting intelligence customers in their mission.
Millennium provides an opportunity to further our current portfolio of work that gives me the chance to expand my knowledge in the DoD as well as help the company take our corporate capabilities and bring them to our intelligence customers.
One of the things that I’m always looking to identify as you meet and get to know the companies across the federal landscape are the aspects that make each one unique. Millennium has a range of capabilities that are unique in this industry in terms of the cyber red team support that we provide.
We have real competency and expertise in performing cyber defense and red team across the Department of Defense. On top of all of that, the company has taken that knowledge and experience to develop a cyber operations red team training program out of our facility in Huntsville, AL.
The program has provided a lot for our government and commercial customers to really become a force multiplier in terms of the number of qualified personnel who are now available to support the mission. In addition, we’ve established the virtual component of the training so you don’t have to be in Huntsville to get trained and certified.”
ExecutiveGov: What can you tell us about the company’s recent growth initiatives and how you’re driving value for your customers through contract awards and other aspects across the federal sector?
Keith Cooperman: “From a growth perspective, Millennium currently provides to support to seven of 11 NSA-certified red teams, but we’re looking to further that presence outside of DoD.
That’s one of the top items on the agenda, but there’s a lot of emphasis on the different aspects of cybersecurity and defense with our customers out of the DoD that are a natural fit for us growth wise, especially with the NSA and the military intelligence community.
We want to further expand our market presence, which has a lot to do with providing a spotlight to get the Millennium brand out there and further into the conversation. As we continue to focus on the cyber training aspect to build our business and name recognition in those critical areas.
In the federal landscape, we’re all fighting for talent and there’s just not enough in the market to go around. How Millennium tries to alleviate that challenge is to bring in and train people who have a real interest in cybersecurity they’ve never worked in that field before.
We’ll train them ourselves with experienced operators as well as a fairly rigorous, yet practical curriculum that is less traditionally academic and much more hands-on. A background in cyber or computer science isn’t absolutely necessary these days, especially among the younger crowd who all have a more common base of knowledge than those who came before.
Through our training, there’s a common level of knowledge that we can build up in a fairly rapid way here at Millennium to drive our people to different levels of proficiency. After that, we put them into the field and pair them with more experienced operators who provide mentorship to help them develop from apprentice to journeyman to experts in their craft.”
ExecutiveGov: What do you see as the most critical challenges facing those in the federal sector as cybersecurity continues to rise in importance and cyber hygiene becomes a necessity for all companies and even more critical at the national security level?
Keith Cooperman: “The first aspect I’d mention is the speed at which the market and the current threat environment evolves and changes. We’re not talking about cycles of months or weeks. We’re not even talking about days: it can often happen in a matter of hours or minutes.
As you look at the threats that are coming against government systems as well as commercial businesses who have had their systems hijacked and their data exposed you have to make decisions that affect large organizations and critical missions. Every link in the chain has to be secure, and that’s a job that’s not getting any easier, because the threats aren’t going away.”