SMDC CSM talks cyber with local high school students

By Ayumi Davis, USASMDCApril 5, 2022

Dodson Visit
Command Sgt. Maj. Finis A. Dodson, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command command sergeant major, speaks to the students of the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering at Peterson Hall at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, April 1, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Ayumi Davis.) (Photo Credit: Ayumi Davis) VIEW ORIGINAL

Huntsville, Ala. – The U.S. Army and Space Missile Defense Command’s senior enlisted leader spoke to students of the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering, imparting his wisdom and knowledge regarding cyberspace and cybersecurity.

The Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering is the first of its kind in the nation, a magnet high school incorporating cyber technology and engineering into its entire academic curriculum. Command Sgt. Maj. Finis A. Dodson, USASMDC command sergeant major, spoke to the school’s high school students at Peterson Hall at Oakwood University on April 1.

He reflected on his education in cyber technology, saying he took computer programming in college, learning COBOL, a compiled English-like computer programming language designed for business use.

“I appreciate what you all are doing,” Dodson said. “You are doing things I couldn’t do. What you are doing here is critical.”

He also discussed cyberspace and its importance at USASMDC.

“Now, everything is cyberspace ¬– it’s manmade, unbound, virtual, and tracks everything we do,” Dodson said. “Everything we do is based on cyber engineering.”

Dodson talked about USASMDC’s responsibilities and structure, as well as some of the Army’s many programs for students working toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees, touching on the Science Math and Research Transformation Scholarship for Service program, STEM student employee program, and the SMDC Underserved Community Cybersecurity and Engineering Education Development program.

“All these are tied to real world capstone projects,” Dodson said. “Once you get out, you have this touchpoint with energy leaders and other leaders that you can apply.”

Dodson shared wisdom that retired Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, the 11th vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, once said.

“General Hyten said ‘What do you do to make a horse go faster? Let the reins go,’” Dodson said. “What he was talking about was you, the youth coming up. We can’t keep putting out ideas after we leave. You’re going to have make things work better, faster, more efficient, and that’s going to build your knowledge and your drive.”

He emphasized to students their importance regarding the future.

“What are you going to do with the experience you have learned?” Dodson said. “We need you. In order to maintain where we are as a nation, you are the future.”

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