WASHINGTON - An Army Reserve cyber warrior was recently presented with the prestigious Department of Commerce (DoC) Bronze Medal Award, for his role in a high-level IT project here recently, at the Herbert C. Hoover Building auditorium.

U.S. Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer Robert C. Hembrook, command chief warrant officer for the 335th Signal Command's (Theater), Army Reserve Cyber Operations Group (ARCOG), and the Director of Cyber Security for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was part of the team awarded this outstanding achievement for their cybersecurity leadership efforts.

The DoC Bronze Medal is a distinct honor usually presented by secretarial officers of the DoC and managed by the NOAA. The award recognizes superior performance by Federal employees working for DoC operating divisions in the categories of: leadership, Personal and Professional Service, Scientific/Engineering Achievement, Organizational Development, Customer Service, Administrative/Technical Support, or Heroism, according to the DoC Office of Human Resources Management web page.

The project team demonstrated their leadership efforts by developing the initial operating capability for the DoC Enterprise Security Operations Center (ESOC). The ESOC provides the DoC leadership with increased visibility of enterprise-wide cybersecurity threats, making the system an important asset for protecting the mission of the agency and all its bureaus.

Hembrook was notified about the award by Mr. Rod Turk, acting Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer for the DoC.

"I was extremely humbled to be nominated and chosen for the award," Hembrook said.

"IT and cybersecurity professionals work behind the scenes, not drawing attention to themselves. Frequently our work is only noticed by the public when a cybersecurity incident occurs. At the same time, cybersecurity has to be right 100 percent of the time, whereas our adversary only needs to get it right once. To be recognized by the DoC for our efforts in the ESOC was very gratifying," he said.

"We held the first Office of the Chief Information Officer Bronze Medal Award ceremony in over a decade. We celebrated the accomplishments of the Operational Excellence Council, the Budget and Financial Management Team, the DoC High Value Assets Team, and the Enterprise Security Operations Center (ESOC) Team," stated Turk in his internal agency blog, Innovate, Lead and Serve.

"The ESOC was built starting in 2015 by the DoC," said
Hembrook. "Rather than creating an organization from nothing, the DoC made a choice to leverage the existing NOAA capabilities that I manage."

Out of the partnership between the NOAA and DoC, a tight integrated process was created.

"The ESOC was given a tremendous leg up in starting, as the DoC team built on and extended the work the NOAA had experience in," Hembrook explained.

"As a result, both entities are tightly integrated, and have been strong enablers for each other, which makes for a cooperative and synergistic organization. Following this model allows the DoC to have a strong and effective oversight role for each of its bureaus and agencies, while NOAA benefits with the close relationship and superior visibility that a cabinet-level department brings."

Making the most of his time in working as a leader in cybersecurity, both military and federal, Hembrook is using his experience to provide guidance to the ARCOG and mentor Soldiers interested in advancing in the career field.

"As the command chief warrant officer of the ARCOG, I am relied upon to train, mentor and develop over 120 warrant officers in the Cyber, Intelligence, and Signal career fields," said Hembrook. "I am able to bring the best of both sectors - federal and military - to that mission - to ensure that our soldiers and officers have the best opportunities to learn and perform a very demanding mission that supports not only our unit, but the entire DoD."