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Securing the Future: Leadership Lessons in Building Secure Operations

The cybersecurity landscape of government operations is constantly evolving, making IT infrastructure modernization more complex and challenging than ever. The discussion, hosted by Wyatt Kash of Scoop News Group, featured a panel of experts discussing their experiences.  

  • Vimesh Patel, Chief Technology Advisor, Federal at WWT
  • Shane Barney, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Robert Wood, CISO and Director at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Bob Costello, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
  • John Davis, Major General, U.S. Army, retired and VP of Public Sector at Palo Alto
  • Bryan Schromsky, Managing Partner, 5G Public Sector at Verizon Business Group

The conversation was focused on the challenges agencies face in implementing the White House's executive order on zero trust and the role of automation and AI in cybersecurity. They also talked about the challenges and opportunities of securing government operations in the digital age. Here are the main themes: 

Cybersecurity is a team effort that requires collaboration across agencies, levels of government and sectors. The panelists emphasized the importance of information sharing, trust building and coordinated responses to cyber threats. 

Zero trust is a key principle for enhancing security posture and resilience. The panelists explained how zero-trust architectures can help protect data and systems from unauthorized access, reduce attack surfaces, and enable continuous monitoring and verification. 

Cloud adoption and modernization are essential for improving agility and innovation. The panelists highlighted the benefits of cloud services and platforms for delivering secure and scalable solutions, as well as the best practices for migrating legacy systems and applications to the cloud. 

Cultural change and workforce development are critical for fostering a security mindset and skillset. The panelists stressed the need to invest in training and education, promoting diversity and inclusion, and creating a culture of security awareness and accountability. 

Innovation and experimentation are vital for staying ahead of the curve and addressing emerging challenges. The panelists shared some of the cutting-edge technologies and initiatives that they are exploring or implementing, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G and blockchain. 

Modernization and Generative AI in Government

In a separate event, Kash talked with Brandon Bulldis, Engineering Director for Federal Civilian at WWT. The discussion covered key advancements and approaches in government IT modernization and the transformative role of AI, particularly generative AI, in enhancing the citizen experience. 

Bridging the silos: A fundamental step in IT modernization 

Breaking down technology silos in government agencies is crucial to drive IT modernization. The process of modernization encompasses a cultural shift alongside technological advancements. Success depends on the right people, processes and technology. The emphasis is on moving towards a more integrated approach, with a particular focus on data management, data integrity and data-driven decision-making. By improving data cleanliness, security and integrity, agencies can advance their technology portfolios and pave the way for enhanced modernization efforts. 

Generative AI will revolutionize customer experience 

Generative AI is a notable leap in AI technology that goes beyond merely learning models to generating customer experiences and tasks autonomously. This advancement has the potential to revolutionize interactions with citizens, enabling agencies to provide actionable answers and automate various functions through adaptive and generative robots. 

From AI-driven to AI-generated experience 

As federal agencies progress in their data maturity, they can move beyond AI-driven data decisions toward the use of generative AI to improve citizen experiences. There are many practical applications of generative AI, including contact centers and task bots, which can generate prompt, actionable responses. However, it's important to consider fairness and equity in AI algorithms, acknowledging the potential for hidden biases that exist within generative AI models.  

Addressing these biases is critical to ensuring a truly equitable citizen experience and agencies need an approach involving data security, data integrity and collaborative efforts between agencies and industry solution providers. 

A pioneering era: Openness to partnership and innovation 

It's an exciting time, particularly in federal IT, due to the growing openness to partnerships and the transformative potential of generative AI. This leap in technology allows federal IT professionals to be pioneers and contribute to shaping a future where technology facilitates equitable citizen experiences and outcomes. 


In an era of growing cyber threats and IT modernization, government agencies need to partner with industry experts and leverage automation and a risk-based approach to security. By ensuring supply chain integrity and strengthening cybersecurity posture, they can protect their systems and data from malicious actors. Moreover, by integrating generative AI in a responsible and ethical way, they can transform the citizen experience and outcomes through data-driven innovation and collaboration.

Learn about transformational security solutions. Read more

Generative AI assisted in creating this content.