ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Mr. Guy Filippelli, a U.S. Army veteran appointed Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Maryland, visited the Soldiers of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Detachment 7, Nov. 17, 2023.
Filippelli started his military career at the United States Army Military Academy at West Point. He received many acceptance letters from potential colleges but chose West Point after his father’s excitement and inspiration convinced him it was the right thing to do.
Filippelli’s father and grandfather both served honorably in the U.S. Army.
“One of my favorite memories is when I called my father on financial advice”, Filippelli said. “My father who never took financial risks, told me to take risks to use my saved money to travel.”
After graduating from West Point as a military intelligence officer, he was attached to the 2nd Infantry Division as a ground surveillance platoon leader in South Korea. After a year, he transferred to Germany, where he soon volunteered on a project to rebuild the Army’s software systems.
In Washington, D.C., Filippelli continued to work on the Army’s new network database systems and tested them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Serving the Army is a life commitment, and we, all who have served, decided to sign a contract up to and payable to their lives,” Filippelli said.
His experiences overseas and the connections he made allowed him to work at the National Security Agency under the Director of the NSA, Keith Alexander.
While working at the NSA, Filippelli found an opportunity to advance communication cryptological systems to provide real-time intelligence information from the NSA to the soldiers on foreign grounds in combat zones such as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Information transmission was not effective, estimating over 30 hours of turn-around-time to get Soldiers the information they need to do their job [overseas] from the [United States],” stated Filippelli.
Filippelli used the information from NSA decision-makers he called “cynics” and asked them how to change 30 hours of electronic transmission to 30 seconds. Filippelli took the information he received of what they said couldn’t be done and rebuilt the NSA software database systems from the bottom up.
Filippelli's efforts to establish a new NSA software database system enabled intelligence information to be shared instantaneously, which enhanced operational reach and ultimately saved Soldiers' lives.
In 2008, he received the National Intelligence Medallion, the highest award given civilian personnel supporting the U.S. intelligence community for his work on transforming the NSA’s communication systems.
Currently, Filippelli is the Chairman of the COMMIT Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists veterans in military career transition to a compatible civilian career. In addition to his interest, he leads and manages “start-up” firms through partnerships at Squadra Ventures.
“One of our partners, known as ‘Instant Teams,’ focuses on hiring military spouses in remote jobs, which has been an ongoing challenge for highly educated military spouses,” Filippelli said. “Military spouses do not have adequate job opportunities since they are limited to what is offered at military duty locations.”
Filippelli stressed that Soldiers transitioning from military to civilian careers need to rethink their skill sets.
“Listing ‘leadership skills’ on your resume is not what an employer is looking for,” Filippelli stated. “Focusing on the company’s mission and how your background can help them achieve their goals will land you the job.”
“Mr. Filipelli’s insight about knowing your value and skillset while transitioning is important for setting expectations,” said Maj. Justin Liberatore, a military intelligence officer with CECOM Det 7.
As a Maryland CASA, he mentioned that the Army, through the "Soldier for Life" program, is here to help Soldiers transition. Filippelli is currently working with legislative officials to make changes to help the Army with recruitment and other issues that are important to him.
“I accepted the position as a CASA for Maryland to bridge the gap and be the connection between the Army’s needs and Maryland’s decision-makers,” he continued.
Filippelli mentioned networking builds trust and strong ties. However, it is hard work.
He continued to say that building trust takes time, and the networking process shows you care for someone and are willing to give back.
“I honor all veterans, if a veteran needs help in the military transition, I am here to help with that process," Filippelli said.
“Mr. Filipelli is inspiring,” says 1st Lt. Colin Breads, a military police officer with CECOM Det 7. “His ambition, drive, and success motivate me to take risks in opportunities and think outside the box.”