2017 Rising Star Awards

Lt. Col. Michael I. Maharaj

Chief Cyber Integration, Joint Staff J6, Directorate for Cyber and C4 Integration, Department of Defense


Given the ongoing increase in persistent threats and the complex demands of cybersecurity, cyber professionals are often overwhelmed. That’s why Lt. Col. Michael Maharaj’s leadership of the Bold Quest for Multinational Defensive Cyberspace Operations is noteworthy.

“They’re over-extended, and he was able to convince them that they could hone their skills with multinational partners,” said Randy Coonts, branch chief for the Joint Staff J6-C4, Cyber Integration.

MNDCO is a new effort that aims to promote cyber freedom among multiple nations and provides capabilities aligned with the North American Treaty Organization’s Federated Mission Networking and U.S. Mission Partner Environment priorities.

By tapping multinational partners, Maharaj was able to measure the effects of cyberthreats, the performance of tools used to detect and prevent them, and how critical network systems were protected.

“Being able to pull this together…was above and beyond his normal duties” as the Joint Staff J6’s chief cyber integrator, Coonts said. “We gave him this task, [and] he took ownership and pulled this team together on his own.”

Click here for more on all the 2017 Rising Stars

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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