Distinguished Practitioner

We Need Assurance!

Brian Snow
National Security Agency, USA

photo When will I be secure? Nobody knows for sure . but it cannot happen before commercial security products and services possess not only enough functionality to satisfy customer.s stated needs, but also sufficient assurance of quality, reliability, safety, and appropriateness for use. Such assurances are lacking in most of today.s commercial security products and services. Paths to better assurance in Operating Systems, Applications, and Hardware through better development environments, requirements definition, systems engineering, quality certification, and legal constraints are discussed and examples given.

A mathematician/computer scientist, Brian helped found the computer science department at Ohio University in the 1960.s. He left university teaching in 1971 to join the U. S. National Security Agency where he became a cryptologic designer and security systems engineer. Brian spent much of his early NSA career in research . developing cryptographic components and systems. Many of his algorithms are used today in cryptographic systems serving the U.S. government and military. These systems provide capabilities not previously available, and span a range from nuclear command and control to tactical radios for the battlefield. He has garnered patents and many awards and honors attesting to his creativity. Mr. Snow.s later career has been the model for what it means to be a Technical Director at NSA (similar to a chief scientist or senior technical fellow in industry); he has served in that capacity in three major mission components . Research, Information Assurance, and currently the National Cryptologic School (NSA.s Corporate University). His mantra has been: .Managers are responsible for doing things right; Technical Directors are responsible for finding the right things to do.. Brian holds a B.A mathematics 1965, M.A. mathematics 1967, both from University of Colorado. Additional course work was completed at University of Ohio and University of Maryland.

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