March 2022 Team Huddle

As everyone knows, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended many things that we all took for granted. Our Gate 15 team has always operated remotely so in that sense, the pandemic was minimally disruptive, but as a team, we counted on getting together in-person twice a year to break bread and to revel in each other’s company. We are a diverse team in so many ways, however, we collectively uphold our Gate 15 mission that we strive to meet every day while performing our jobs.

On 25 March 2022, we still got together, though once again, we had to convene virtually. Our huddles are a teaching and learning exercise, but also a chance for us to tease, laugh, and lift each other up by recognizing all the things we contribute individually to make this team so great.

Along with our team, we welcomed some special guests, who also do work in support of the homeland security mission, to join us for some presentations. There were two presentations: one was a discussion of Gate 15’s threat-informed, risk-based approach to the homeland security mission and another deeper discussion on bias in analysis. Among our guests were some old friends from over the years, some friends we’ve met along the way, and some new friends that we work closely with now. It was great to have our guests meet and get to know one another and the rest of our team. We also took a minute to recognize some of those friends by way of our Gate 15 awards. Yearly, we recognize a few friends and teammates with three distinct awards.

The Award for JGSD is given in recognition of the awardee’s tenacity in accomplishing their mission, despite encountering challenges, obstacles, and resistance. The award is named with respect to a famous tweet from L.A. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, after former Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey’s infamous “double doink” which eliminated Chicago from the playoffs. Kobe wrote, “We’ve all been here Cody but if you wanna win back the city you gotta get back in the lab and have a historic season next year to bury this one. I’m happy for my #EaglesNation but as a fellow pro athlete you gotta grind harder and double down #noexcuses #JGSD justgetsh*tdone” The awardee in 2022 was the Tribal-ISAC under the helm of Mike Day who envisioned an ISAC for the tribal community and, working with his great TribalNet team and with the support of Gate 15’s Jon Crosson and Jennifer Lyn Walker, ‘Just Got —- Done’ to stand-up and develop the ISAC.

The Award for Trust and Confidence is given in recognition of someone who has earned our strong trust and confidence and who has exhibited superior risk management and operational security efforts. The award was given to Brett Zupan. Brett has worked with Gate 15 for some time now supporting multiple communities to include across a number of ISACs. Among our team, Brett is in high demand because we all have trust and confidence that Brett delivers – every time!

The Award for Vision is given in recognition of the awardee’s efforts to envision, guide, and see to completion an idea that enhances our nation’s homeland security. This year, the award is shared among Space ISAC’s Executive Director, Erin Miller and Gate 15’s Chuck Egli. Gate 15 has had the privilege to support the Space-ISAC’s preparedness program since 2021. You can learn more about Space ISAC in our October 2021 podcast, The Gate 15 Interview Ep. 16: Erin Miller, Executive Director, Space ISAC. Securing Space Infrastructure (and terrestrial critical infrastructure too!), and Space ISAC will be back on our podcast soon with Jen Walker in The Cybersecurity Evangelist.

In addition to our three annual awards, we also took time to recognize one another as team members took time to individually recognize one another.

We spent a good part of our huddle time talking about bias and how bias can impact and affect our work, and finally, how in order for us to do our jobs well, we need to recognize and overcome that bias. The Gate 15 SUN is essentially developed to help the team with the threat-informed risk-based approach to the exercise and operational support we are so good at. We know that what we sometimes include may be bias or may be written with a certain angle, but that just may be the best information that we have available at the time, or the best report on an event. We strive to keep the SUN politically agnostic to the best of our abilities.

To steer away from bias, we collect data from numerous sources, to include a host of open-source reports that come from organizations known to typically lean towards one bias or another. We attempt to present information with the least bias, selecting best content or sometimes including duplicative stories from different sources. A lot of that gets shared in SUN (which is entirely informed by open-source reporting), and a lot of that gets taken into client projects and Gate 15 products and presentations which may include additional data and intelligence. As we go through those processes, we work hard to drive our analysis to be sharp, informed, thoughtful, and deliberate. We approach all our analysis from the perspective of the security implications – what are the relevant threats and risks and what can we do to draw down risk and foster preparedness, security and resilience?

Our analysts look at reality, facts, and information while separating themselves from their inherent biases so that they view the data analytically.  Our products, like the Gate 15 SUN, our analytical reporting, or our preparedness exercises, have to look at events agnostically. So, we check our bias in a number of ways to include:

  • Asking ourselves: is this analysis or opinion? In other words, is the reporting threat-informed and risk-based or is it how I feel?
  • Being inclusive by looking at all sources, not in a touchy-feely way but, to provide a complete picture of the threats while checking the tone we are taking.
  • Assuming there is bias in everything which can corrupt our intelligence.
  • Filtering out the noise and analyzing the data which is pertinent to our work.
  • Asking ourselves if an issue can have an impact on the security environment.
  • And other ways we work independently and together to minimize bias and understand the reality in which we and our clients operate.

The presentation on bias in analysis is available to any organization that would like it. Contact our team to discuss how we can be of help.

Our Gate 15 team is constantly striving to evolve, and we to do that in many ways. Our huddles are a just one way for the team to teach and learn from one another. The bonus of huddles is recognizing each other for our individual contributions to the team while we spend time with our many friends whom we have come to know along the way. Thanks to all of our team members, friends and partners for a great March huddle!