Sykesville native battles cyber threats for U.S. Navy

By Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach

(FORT MEADE, MD – May 26, 2022) – Civilian Mark Lanni, a native of Sykesville, Maryland, protects America from cyber threats as a member of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.

Information technology advances at a staggering pace. Practically all major systems on ships, aircraft, submarines, and unmanned vehicles are networked to some degree. This includes most combat, communications, engineering, and navigation systems.  While connectivity provides the military with speed, agility, and precision, it also opens numerous attack opportunities for adept cyber adversaries.

Lanni is a 1986 graduate of Woodlawn High School in Woodlawn, Maryland, and Mt. Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Today, Lanni uses skills and values he learned growing up in Sykesville.

“Growing up, I learned the value of teamwork, hard work and taking pride in my job,” said Lanni.

Today, Lanni plays a crucial role in defending against cyber threats in support of the command’s mission to collect, analyze and report on communication signals using computers, specialized computer-assisted equipment, and video display terminals.

According to Navy officials, networks are under continuous threats of attack by a broad array of state actors, terrorist organizations, ‘hacktivist’ groups, organized crime, and individual hackers. Motivations include personal gain, information theft, discrediting the United States, sabotage, political gain, denial or degradation of the Navy’s access to cyberspace.

“As leaders and experts in Information Warfare, our sailors and civilians are at the forefront of disrupting the ability of bad actors to execute their plans, which often degrade U.S. interests,” said Vice Admiral Ross Myers, commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet. “Because of our workforce and their world class skills and dedication to service, today’s Navy has the agility, tactical skills, advanced technologies and innovative mindset to succeed. Alongside our sister services, Fleet Cyber Command is on the frontlines to thwart malicious efforts in cyberspace – we are engaged against adversaries, around the globe and around the clock – 24/7/365.”

That’s why the work being done by Lanni is so important.

Serving in and now for working for the Navy means Lanni is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy projects power across the globe even through just its presence,” said Lanni. “We keep the shipping lanes open and allow trade.”

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

Lanni and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“During the Gulf War I served aboard USS Princeton,” said Lanni. “We struck two mines in the Arabian Gulf, and I am incredibly proud of how our crew responded as a team to repair the damage and keep us in the fight until we were relieved.”

As Lanni and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“I wore a Navy uniform for more than four years,” added Lanni. “As a civilian now, I take a certain sense of pride in knowing that I’m still giving back and serving the country to help protect our way of life for generations to come.”

Posted Yesterday by Navy Office Of Community Outreach