Russ Marsh
Russ Marsh, NNSA Cyber Operations Director

In an ever-evolving cyber landscape, NNSA’s Office of the Associate Administrator for Information Management and Chief Information Officer has the responsibility to ensure the availability of a secure infrastructure for mission support and information sharing for the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

Meet Russ Marsh, a retired Navy veteran who currently serves as Cyber Operations Director overseeing operations related to network security, which enables NNSA to execute its mission.

How did you become interested in cybersecurity?

  • I have always had a natural curiosity and interest in how computers work and how to secure them. As a result, I have looked for unique jobs and positions in cybersecurity. I also derive satisfaction from bringing teams together to solve problems most people would not have the opportunity to see.

What is the best part about your job?

  • I enjoy getting to work with some truly brilliant cybersecurity minds at NNSA. These connections make you aware that the realm of possibilities in the cybersecurity field is limitless.

What is your proudest accomplishment while working with NNSA?

  • We recently completed a hands-on technical cybersecurity exercise that pulled together teams from the Special Technologies Laboratory to build a physical environment. Savannah River National Laboratory utilized the Georgia Cyber Center to build a virtual replica of the STL environment, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provided existing infrastructure to execute the exercise. 
  • This exercise allowed us to see how our current process and procedures would work defending an Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) environment. We also collaborated with the Office of Defense Programs to make the testing environment representative of something similar to a mission-focused OT environment.
  • The inaugural cybersecurity exercise concluded at the end of September, and we received this feedback from Steven McAndrews, Deputy Associate Administrator for Information Management and Chief Information Officer: “I appreciate our staff’s hard work and dedication to ensuring the execution of the inaugural exercise. I hope that each exercise continues to build on the lessons learned from the previous years.”

Is there something you have learned here that you didn’t know before?

  • When it comes to cybersecurity, you are always learning. If you think you know it all or are the expert, that is typically when something shifts, leaving your organization exposed. 
  • It’s important to stay on top of new technologies and capabilities that are constantly evolving. Just look how much technology has changed just over the last decade! With any new technology, there are new vulnerabilities that can lead to new types of exposures.
  • It’s also important that every individual on the team continually strives to learn about new tech and functionalities, sharing with each other when they learn about something new. 

What advice would you have for anyone interested in a career in nuclear security?

  • Specific to a career in nuclear security, I believe it helps immensely if you have some IT background. And it’s important to try new things, like building a computer from parts or building out a Linux operating system.
  • Online training resources are also available for free. If you want to broaden your horizons, take some online classes involving something you are specifically interested in. Personally, I think the future of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is going to play an even bigger role in cybersecurity, so I would study those fields. 

When he’s not working to keep NNSA’s network systems secure, Marsh enjoys spending time with his wife and four daughters. He is also working on developing retro gaming systems based on MAME and RetroPie.