TOPEKA, Kan. -- Far removed from the festive atmosphere of the Democratic National Convention floor, an eight-member team of FEMA information technology specialists kept the huge event's computer network safe.
"We're definitely behind the scenes, but ever vigilant," said Region VIII's Rick Hadsall, who helped develop the system's monitoring protocols after arriving in Denver on Aug. 19.? The team's communications center is about 20 miles from the convention site.
At this writing, Hadsall isn't in Kansas anymore.? He was pulled, temporarily, from his responsibilities as IT Service Branch Lead with DR-1741-KS and DR-1776-KS because of his intimate knowledge of computer security issues and clearance.
"It would be hard to find someone more qualified to lead the team at the DNC," said Kevin Keiser, logistics section chief in Kansas.? Hadsall developed many of the applications and procedures used by FEMA to detect potential threats. He's thoroughly trained in pre-emptive security measures, intrusion detection, vulnerability isolation, and fault analysis.
The Democrats' network systems remained secure as of Thursday morning Aug. 28. Delegates went home the following day.?
A Navy veteran, Hadsall joined FEMA as a DAE in 1996 after taking computer courses at Missouri Western State University. His computer skills have since put him in "constant demand," according to one former supervisor, not only in disaster-specific operations, but also for numerous large events, including the '02 Winter Olympics in Utah. He has been involved in many special events, including the preparations for Y2K and supporting a G-8 summit. The DNC is his 126th deployment.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for preventing, mitigating the effects of responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.