BRUNSSUM, Netherlands – A U.S. Army NATO Brigade information technology specialist recently learned he was selected for a prestigious position working with the Defense Information Systems Agency in the Washington, D.C. area.
Sgt. 1st Class Cody Summers, assigned to A Company, Allied Forces North Battalion with duty at Communication and Information Systems Sustainment and Support Centre in Brunssum, the Netherlands, grew up in Newburg, West Virginia, and joined the Army 14 years ago.
“I joined the Army when I was 19 years old,” said Summers. “I had just graduated from West Virginia Junior College with an associate degree in IT, and I wanted to do something with my degree. I wanted to get out and travel, and the Army was a perfect fit for me.”
Summers said he had his eye on the DISA position for a long time.
“I grew up in a small town and being able to say you worked for an agency as prestigious as DISA as an Army IT professional, it’s the pinnacle of our career,” said Summers. “There’s no greater position I can aspire to have that’s higher than working there.”
The CSSC is part of the NATO Communications and Information Agency whose mission is to acquire, deploy and defend communications systems for NATO.
“The primary mission of the CSSC is to conduct periodic and scheduled maintenance on critical information systems and satellite communication systems,” said Summers. “I help coordinate scheduled maintenance on those systems, whether they come to JFC Brunssum to receive maintenance, or we send technicians on site to conduct required maintenance.”
“The second thing I do is to conduct critical maintenance, which is unscheduled maintenance,” he said. “If a SATCOM system suffers a lightning strike, components get fried or broken, windstorms, things of that nature, we coordinate getting those systems back online, whether the systems come here, or we send technicians there to conduct repairs.”
“My primary function is to determine: A) what’s the problem; B) how it can be resolved, whether or not we need the equipment in our building to resolve the issue, or if we need to send technicians on site; and then C) balancing available resources within the CSSC, because we don’t want too many people off site and not enough people here to conduct regularly scheduled maintenance.”
Summers said he has always had three things foremost in his mind as he planned his career.
“First, always pursue education in your field, whether it be civilian or military education. Technical certifications obviously play a big role in your position in the Army as an IT professional, so always pursue as many civilian certifications as you can that are relevant to your field as well as military education,” he said.
“Second, would be pursue education through schooling, a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in computer science or cyber security. At least get a bachelor’s degree in a field you enjoy, no matter what else you do,” he said. “The last thing would be to manage your career.
“I didn’t accidently stumble upon getting a position with the Defense Information Systems Agency,” he said. “It took a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of diligence on my part to pursue the process and have the certifications.
“You should know where you want to go in your career. You should identify the experiences and requirements you need and then plan how you will get there.
“That way when you get to the point in your career when you are able to pursue your goals, you will be ready,” said Summers.
Summers said he was thankful for the support of his leaders during the application process and is especially thankful to Command Sgt. Maj. Julie Rae Steward, Allied Forces North Battalion.
“[Maj. Steward] gave me a lot of insight into the day-to-day life of the agency as well as a lot of encouragement,” he said.