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NPS ITACS Department Honored for Achievement with DON IT Excellence Award

NPS ITACS Department Honored for Achievement with DON IT Excellence Award

Naval Postgraduate School Command Information Officer (CIO) Scott Bischoff, center right, and Deputy CIO Robert Sweeney, center left, are presented with the Department of the Navy Information Technology (DON IT) Excellence "Defend" Award by DON CIO Aaron Weis, right, during a ceremony at the 2022 West Coast DON IT Conference, Feb. 16.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (NPS) – The Information Technology and Communications Services (ITACS) department at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) received the prestigious Department of the Navy (DON) IT Excellence “Defend” Award on Feb. 16 at the West Coast DON IT Conference in San Diego.

The award recognized NPS’ evaluation of a cyber readiness tool, “Nova,” conducted under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Rebellion Defense. The Nova tool is designed to continuously test the defenses of a computer network, simulating a variety of cyber threats – a process also known as “red teaming” – in order to ensure operational readiness of the network at all times.

DON Chief of Information (DON CIO) Aaron Weis presented the award to NPS Command Information Officer Scott Bischoff and Deputy CIO Robert Sweeney, representing the NPS ITACS team. 

“Defending the network is a key tenet of the Information Superiority Vision and will continue to be a team effort across the Department of the Navy, so I’m honored to recognize the work done by the team at NPS for their work with Rebellion,” said Weis. “Future Sailors will no doubt benefit from the lessons we learn from this important pilot.”

NPS was one of a number of commands competing for the DON IT Excellence Award, recognizing excellence in Information Management (IM) and Information Technology (IT) within the DON.

Bischoff, a retired Navy captain and naval aviator, compared the approach of the software demonstrated during the “Nova” pilot program to milestones known in the aviation community – adversary training and pre-deployment workups. 

“In my experience in the ship-air wing team, we’re used to training for months prior to deployment – plan, brief, fly, then debrief to hammer home the lessons,” said Bischoff. “We do workups with your ship before deployment and each CO gets readiness measures along the way. Cyber readiness software such as the tool we tested similarly point out our readiness gaps. They make it possible to view the network from a readiness and currency perspective – the team and the equipment. 

“We can let the software run autonomously, or plan complex scenarios, run them with or without notice, debrief, address your shortcomings, and repeat the process. Our cybersecurity cycle is constant – we are always ‘on deployment.’ Tools like this allow us to keep pace,” Bischoff continued.

Going forward, Bischoff said that ITACS and NPS will continue to provide a unique terrain for DON, the Department of Defense and industry leaders to evaluate cutting-edge software and technology.

“Working collaboratively with industry partners such as Rebellion has improved the NPS cybersecurity team,” said Bischoff.

The Naval Postgraduate School provides defense-focused graduate education, including classified studies and interdisciplinary research, to advance the operational effectiveness, technological leadership and warfighting advantage of the naval service.


Neither the Department of the Navy nor any other component of the Department of Defense has approved, endorsed, or authorized this product, promotion, service, or activity.

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