Poplar Bluff Native Battles Cyber Threats for U.S. Navy

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FORT MEADE, MD – A 2006 Poplar Bluff graduate and Poplar Bluff, Missouri native protects America from cyber threats as a member of Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group.

“I wanted better opportunities than what was offered in my hometown and the chance to travel so I joined the Navy,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Crystal Kulle. “This links me to my grandfather who also served in the military.”

Kulle is one of about 3,000 cryptologic technicians (collection) in the Navy and is responsible for collection, analysis and reporting on commuications signals. “We make unintelligible text readable,” said Kulle. “It’s a challenging field of constant changes.”

Information technology advances at a staggering pace. Practically all major systems on ships, aircraft, submarines, and unmanned vehicles are networked to some degree. This includes most combat, communications, engineering, and navigation systems.  While connectivity provides the military with speed, agility, and precision, it also opens numerous attack opportunities for adept cyber adversaries.

Kulle plays a crucial role in defending against cyber threats in support of the command’s mission to conduct cutting edge technical research and development to create, test, and deliver advanced cyber, cryptologic, and electronic warfare capabilities to the U.S. Navy using rapid prototyping and acquisition authority.  

According to Navy officials, networks are under continuous threats of attack by a broad array of state actors, terrorist organizations, ‘hacktivist’ groups, organized crime, and individual hackers. Motivations include personal gain, information theft, discrediting the United States, sabotage, political gain, denial or degradation of the Navy’s access to cyberspace. 

“The cyberspace domain is a dynamic environment where new threats and complex problems emerge on an increasingly frequent basis.” said Capt. Brian Luke, commander, NCWDG.  “It is only through the technical expertise and professional dedication of our Sailors, civilians, and other partners, that NCWDG is able to meet these challenges.  Their unique qualifications and specialized skills serve to satisfy fleet and combatant commander needs, and enable warfighting decisions.”

As the information age presents the world with new technological challenges, the Navy relies on its own cyber experts to shape our presence in cyberspace. NCWDG military and civilian personnel work closely with tactical commanders to develop cyberspace operational capabilities for strategic objectives.

Kulle is proud to serve at the forefront of technology innovation and cyber operations, helping to protect America from threats around the world. “I am also proud of all my Navy experiences and cool things I have done, including riding in a helicopter, and all the friends I have made all over the world,” said Kulle.

“Serving in the Navy gives me a great feeling in making sure my kids, family and those I care about are safe,” added Kulle.

The future of U.S. maritime power depends on the Navy’s ability to achieve their vision for cyberspace operations which is based on careful consideration of the threats, trends, and challenges facing the Navy in cyberspace.

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