The past decade has ushered a national re-awakening to the global risks to the U.S. – both cyber and traditional. But no matter how many breaches occur or how many headline-making incidents threaten – everything from oil and gas to meat production – the new issues arising each day mean constant vigilance is required.

Today launched the three-day NCMS Seminar, an annual gathering of security professionals committed to protecting critical company and government assets. This year the seminar went virtual, but it’s still bringing in headlining speakers including a keynote address by Adm. James Stavridis.

China, Russia, defense budgets, the demand for new cyber capabilities, and the need for strong alliances to combat emerging risks were among the topics he addressed, along with some of the solutions he envisions could help combat those risks – including increased use of unmanned systems and creating a Cyber Force similar to the new Space Force service branch.

“We have good defense cyber, and we have good offensive cyber,” said Stavridis. But he noted the need for greater emphasis on how cyber has permeated every part of society, from healthcare and DoD and everything in between.

Cyber is critical, but it doesn’t replace the need for men and women to protect and defend. Stavridis reflected on the service of Michael Murphy in his remarks. Murphy was a U.S. Navy Seal who was awarded the Medal of Honor after exposing himself to enemy gunfire to request support for his team, being shot more than 14 times, but continuing his call for help and continuing to fire until dying from his wounds.

“Even though all of this technology is important, it is the men and women who are the ultimate guarantors of our freedom,” said Stavridis.

Just has the individual is often touted as the greatest security risk, Stavridis kicked off three days of security training by reminding that individuals are also the critical line maintaining security, as well.

DISS, Crypto, Marijuana Stocks & More

Afternoon sessions focused on a variety of topics, from the transition from JPAS to the Defense Information System for Security (DISS), Cybersecurity Maturity Model (CMMC) compliance, and updates from the National Industrial Security Program Policy Advisory Committee (NISPPAC).

Many security officers continue to await clearer government guidance on topics like investing in marijuana stocks and cryptocurrencies, and reporting requirements under Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 3. For now, NISPPAC representative Heather Sims strongly advises reporting cryptocurrency, due to the unregulated nature. She described it as like obtaining a large fortune from a family member – the government wants to know where funds are coming from.

Changes in state marijuana laws continue to be a major hurdle for security officers, but for now, there are no policy changes at the federal level that would change marijuana use prohibitions for security clearance holders. Until there are, even medicinal use by current clearance holders should be reported as an adverse information report.

“What You Do Is Important”

Security professionals are dealing with mundane issues that frequently don’t come to light until something negative happens. But as the recent Colonial Pipeline ransom (and the FBI’s recovery) demonstrates, security is vitally important – and especially the partnerships and information sharing between companies, government agencies, and law enforcement agencies. Security is personal. And it takes people committed to security across organizations to keep information safe – that was the mantra, message, and mission of day one of the NCMS seminar.

“What you do is important…Keep up the good fight,” said Simms.


For more information on NCMS,inc. and their training programs, visit

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer