OODAcast: Technology Risk Executive and former NASA CISO and CIO Jerry Davis
Jerry Davis has spent decades succeeding in hard jobs supporting critically important missions. He is a decorated combat Veteran who served in he US Marines for 11 years including in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield. He also served in the Central Intelligence Agency in service to world wide missions including leveraging technology in denied areas against high profile targets. Jerry would later become the first CISO at the US Department of Education, then the CISO for NASA and later the CISO for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He returned to NASA as the CIO for the Ames Research Center, a position he held till 2018.
Jerry currently provides strategic consulting and design assistance focused on mitigating risk to mission critical programs and activities, including some of the most interesting activities humans are planning on conducting in space.
This OODAcast we ask Jerry about his approaches to leadership and management, what motivated him to pursue the hard jobs, and how his early times in the field with the CIA helped him throughout his career (he learned to be a really good critical thinker, and also credited the fact that he learned by being exposed to many different cultures, all of which translated well to the cyber world). Jerry clearly has a fond place in his heart for intelligence and the community, and makes the point that even though the IC has huge technological components, but it is really a people centered business. The importance of training and practice and honing skills was also a key part of Jerry’s background including how to think on your feet. He is a believer in planning and having backup plans and backups to the backup plans. No plan survives first contact, so learn to be agile.
We also examined Jerry’s leadership methods in organizations that are reluctant to change but need to. Jerry also has deep experience leading security in collegial environments (like leading security for the NASA mission centers).
Jerry is a future focused person who is closely tracking the US space program and its many interesting programs (like Artemis, the return of humans to the moon). We ask his views on the future and the technology and risks we all need to mitigate to optimize the future.