FORT BELVOIR, Virginia, Aug. 28, 2019 —
A Defense Logistics Agency Information Operations employee is completing the Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy this month after being selected as part of the first group of Defense Department employees to participate.
Tobin Brevitz, a management and program analyst with DLA Information Operations Knowledge Management, was one of 30 DoD employees selected to participate in the course out of 1,600 who applied. The course offers federal employees hands-on training on cybersecurity, one of the fastest growing fields in the country.
Brevitz, along with four other employees from other agencies, chose to do the course online rather than in person and is set to graduate at the end of August. The in-person attendees graduated July 14 after three months of training.
Brevitz has held a variety of positions since he joined DLA 10 years ago and has always had an interest in cybersecurity, he said.
“What slowed me down before was I didn’t have real formal training in cybersecurity, so I couldn’t apply for any jobs,” he said. “So when this opportunity popped up, I decided to go for it.”
His leaders recommended him for the course and supported him through the selection process, which included an essay, assessment and interview. The program is split into three courses – cyber essentials, security essentials and incident handling – and each has six sections consisting of course work, videos, labs, quizzes and exams. The work is challenging and requires a significant time commitment, Brevitz said, but participants have weekly check-in calls with course proctors and can contact subject matter experts with the click of a button.
“It’s been a little bit challenging because I don’t have any formal training, but having a background in IT helps,” he said. “The instructors and proctors are good about explaining everything and giving you detail without overwhelming you. They really want to help and want to see us succeed.”
Cybersecurity is critical for DoD, said Scott Pearson, division chief of DLA Information Operations Knowledge Management.
“It’s a consistent message from our senior leaders and if it’s ignored, our warfighters pay the price,” he said. “We all play a part in defending our information technology, but Toby wanted to take that one step further. Toby was already interested in cybersecurity and showed an aptitude for identifying and preventing issues before they arose, so I felt confident that he would be a good candidate for the program and was elated when he was accepted.”
Having skilled cybersecurity professionals in place will provide a strong base for protecting DLA’s networks and customers, Pearson added.
Brevitz said his ultimate goal is to use his newfound knowledge and transition to a job in cybersecurity. Being part of the course has helped him connect with representatives from the office of the DoD Chief Information Officer and other agencies, which has helped him learn about the career field and potential job opportunities.
The Federal Cyber Reskilling Academy is part of the government’s commitment to developing a federal workforce of the 21st century as outlined in the President's Management Agenda and the recent Government Reform Plan. A second group is set to graduate in September.