Securing home, workplace
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Jul 03, 2000
Office of Information Systems Security home page
After 30 years of marriage, Raymond Long still has a date every Thursday
night — with his wife, Carolyn.
For Long, who led the Federal Aviation Administration's Year 2000 program
and now is director of the FAA's new Office of Information Systems Security,
"home is where my life is."
Although he gives his all at work, "I'm not married to this job," said
Long, who is married to his high school sweetheart. In his office at FAA
headquarters, Long prominently displays photo-graphs of his family, which
includes four children and four grandchildren. A family photo also adorns
his computer screen.
But don't be fooled. Long, who started his FAA career in 1974 as an
air traffic controller, is committed to his job. He must be, to have taken
on a position that he claims is 10 times the magnitude of the Year 2000
In May, FAA chief information officer Daniel Mehan created the Office
of Information Systems Security and appointed Long as its director. Information
systems security promises to be one of the most critical challenges facing
the government and the private sector in the next decade, Mehan said. Long's
experience with the highly successful Year 2000 program and his history
with the FAA's systems development and architecture made him the logical
choice to take the leap to the next big thing at the FAA.
Long knows it won't be an easy road, though. Much like the millennium
bug, tackling information security requires adequate staffing, awareness
throughout the agency and constant contact with Congress, the General Accounting
Office, the inspector general, administration officials and the media, Long
Long can draw on his friendly personality, strong work ethic and background
in air traffic control wherever he goes in FAA, said Mary Powers-King, who
was Long's deputy for the Year 2000 program. Powers-King, now deputy director
of aviation research, said that she was ready to move on to something different,
but Long seemed to like the systematic approach to the Year 2000 rollover — an approach that will be applied to information security.
Although Powers-King noted Long's efforts to strike a balance between
work and home, "We spent more time together during the two years prior to
the rollover than we did with our families," she said. A lot of family time
happened on the telephone, she said.
When Long was offered the job to lead the Office of Information Systems
Security, he called a family meeting to discuss how the increased demands
would affect his home life and his health — Long has Parkinson's disease.
"When I took on Y2K and this one, I knew it was going to take a lot of time,"
Long said, adding, "I love a challenge."
The biggest security challenge at the FAA will be bringing workers on
board to solve problems, mostly because there isn't a history of information
security problems at FAA, he said. While he can leverage much of the system
inventory work that was done in preparation for Year 2000, the scope of
the information security effort is much larger, Long said.
"On top of your budget cuts, a hiring freeze and government downsizing,
now we need to look at information systems security," he said. "We need
a large-scale awareness campaign. Then everyone will rally to fix the problem."
Finding loyalty among Long's employees has never been difficult, said
Paul Takemoto, an FAA spokesman who handled media relations for the FAA's
Year 2000 program. Long is an easy person to work hard for, he said.
"He takes responsibility. He doesn't blame other people," Takemoto said.
"That's not something that you always find. If you have someone who takes
responsibility like that, you'll do anything for him."
He described Long as "just a very normal guy" who managed to emerge
from the Year 2000 effort — a lesson in crisis management — the same person
at the end that he was at the beginning.
However, one difference can be detected among Long's collection of about
100 coffee mugs. The mugs, which are souvenirs from decades of family vacations,
business trips and events, are now filled with tennis balls.
The tennis balls are a legacy of the Year 2000 work. Long said that
one of the Year 2000 workers told him that whenever she got mad, she put
his picture on a tennis ball and hit it with her racket. That grew to become
a tennis ball for any frustrating event or issue. When the Year 2000 team
celebrated the completion of the rollover, the worker showed up with a box
of tennis balls, many of which now reside inside Long's collection of mugs.
And don't think Long didn't take a systematic approach to his mugs.
"I used to number the mugs," he said, but not anymore. "That's configuration