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The Cotton Cyber Lecture Series

Janet Hobbs Cotton ’59 and her husband, John Cotton, have given the new cybersecurity master’s program a generous gift by establishing the Cotton Cyber Lecture Series, which will bring nationally and internationally recognized leaders in cybersecurity to campus to speak.

“My husband and I believe that funding a cybersecurity lecture series will be a unique way to promote Hood as it moves forward with the master’s program in this field,” said Janet. “It will give students a more in-depth understanding of the climate surrounding cybersecurity problems in the world. Members of the Washington, Baltimore and Frederick communities will be encouraged to participate and become more aware of the issues our society faces today.”

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Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. 
Ronald S. Ross
Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Press Release

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Computer Scientist, NIST Fellow

Ron Ross is a Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His focus areas include information security, systems security engineering, and risk management. Dr. Ross leads the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) Implementation Project, which includes the development of security standards and guidelines for the federal government, contractors, and the United States critical infrastructure.

Dr. Ross also leads the Joint Task Force, an interagency partnership with the Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Intelligence Community, and the Committee on National Security Systems, with responsibility for the development of the Unified Information Security Framework for the federal government and its contractors.

Dr. Ross previously served as the Director of the National Information Assurance Partnership, a joint activity of NIST and the National Security Agency. In addition to his responsibilities at NIST, Dr. Ross supports the U.S. State Department in the international outreach program for information security and critical infrastructure protection. He has also lectured at many universities and colleges across the country including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College, Stanford University, the George Washington University, and the Naval Postgraduate School. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Dr. Ross served in many leadership and technical positions during his twenty-year career in the United States Army. While assigned to the National Security Agency, Dr. Ross received the Scientific Achievement Award for his work on an inter-agency national security project and was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal upon his departure from the agency. Dr. Ross is a four-time recipient of the Federal 100 award for his leadership and technical contributions to critical information security projects affecting the federal government and is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award. He has also received the Department of Commerce Gold and Silver Medal Awards and has been inducted into the Information Systems Security Association Hall of Fame and given its highest honor of Distinguished Fellow. In addition, Dr. Ross has been inducted into the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame.

During his military career, Dr. Ross served as a White House aide and a senior technical adviser to the Department of the Army. He is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College and holds master's and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School specializing in artificial intelligence and robotics.

Founder and CEO, IronNet Cybersecurity

At IronNet Cybersecurity, as the CEO and President, General (Ret) Keith Alexander provides strategic vision to corporate leaders on cybersecurity issues through development of cutting-edge technology, consulting and education/training. He is reinventing how industries mitigate cybersecurity threats with IronDefense, a patented solution designed to detect and alert on anomalous enterprise network behaviors through ne-tuned analytics. His goal is to bridge communication systems between private and government sectors to create the next level of intelligence sharing and protect the nation against cyber threats on a global stage. 

General Alexander is a four-star general with an impressive 40-year military career, culminating in role of the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Chief of the Central Security Service (CSS) from 2005- 2014. He holds the distinction of serving in this role longer than any other director. While serving as the NSA Director, he was appointed by Congress to be the first Commander to lead the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM). He held this role from 2010-2014, establishing and de ning how our nation is protected against cyber attacks. 

As Commander, USCYBERCOM, General Alexander was responsible for planning, coordinating and conducting operations, and defending Department of Defense (DoD) computer networks—as well as the defense of the nation—from cyber threats. As the Director of NSA, he was responsible for national foreign intelligence requirements, military combat support, and the protection of U.S. national security information systems. 

Prior to leading USCYBERCOM and the NSA/CSS General Alexander served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Department of the Army; Commanding General of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir, VA; and the Director of Intelligence, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL., and the Deputy Director for Requirements, Capabilities, Assessments and Doctrine, J-2, on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Serving as a member of the President’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, General Alexander developed key recommendations to create a defensible national cyber architecture to protect national security by promoting rapid innovation and close public-private collaboration while preserving privacy and civil liberties. 

General Alexander is the recipient of the 2016 United States Military Academy (USMA) Distinguished Graduate Award. He holds a BS from the U.S. Military Academy, as well an MS in Business Administration from Boston University; an MS in Systems Technology and an MS in Physics from the Naval Post Graduate School; and an MS in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.