Kevin Jackson is currently an Engineering Fellow with NJVC, one of the largest information technology solutions providers supporting the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Prior to this position, he served in various senior management positions including VP, Dataline LLC, Director Federal for Sirius Computer Solutions and Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM. His formal education includes MSEE (Computer Engineering), MA National Security & Strategic Studies and a BS Aerospace Engineering. Jackson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 and retired from the US Navy earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Airborne Logistics and Airborne Command and Control. He also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide. Kevin Jackson is also the founder and author of “Cloud Musings,” a widely followed blog that focuses on the use of cloud computing by the Federal government. He is also the editor and founder of “Government Cloud Computing” electronic magazine, published at Ulitzer.com.
1. At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be an engineer?
Growing up in the 60’s, I was heavily influenced by the space race.
Like almost every boy my age, I wanted to be an astronaut. At that
time, every astronaut was a military pilot and an aerospace engineer.
Those facts drove my goals and ambitions for over 20 years.
2. Kevin after reading some of your blogs, it is stated that one of your favorite subjects is “Cloud Computing,” why is that so, and what exactly is “Cloud Computing”?
Cloud computing is essentially a new business model for managing,
processing and delivering information. Business and operational
challenges driven by the internet’s global scale led to this new
approach. Society is now at the forefront of leveraging the associated
3. When talking about the government and cloud computing. How is geospatial intelligence connected to government cloud computing?
Geospatial intelligence is our knowledge of the Earth. The more we
know, the better we can manage human activity and the resources we
need to thrive. This is government’s essential mission and cloud
computing can enhance the accomplishment of that mission.
4. What are the benefits of geospatial intelligence to humanity?
A specific example where geoint is crucial is in disaster response. An international response to such crisis requires a tremendous amount of coordination. Geoint provides the necessary maps, infrastructure information, ecological reference information, etc. Everyday geoint needs include agricultural health surveys, drought monitoring, beach and shore erosion and urbanization trends.
5. Are there any risks in government cloud computing, in reference to security? If so, what are they?
Security is about risk management. Everyday we are simultaneously learning about the risks inherent in running global IT infrastructures and new approaches for minimizing that risk. Some specific risks include personal privacy, data integrity, unintended data migration, and data loss. The biggest security challenge is accomplishing the transition from an “infrastructure-centric” security method to “data-centric” security methods. In order for cloud computing to be successful, we need to accelerate that transition.
6. What are some of the variables that will contribute to government cloud computing success?
The Federal Government has taken an active role in shepparding the transition to cloud computing. For me, this positive role is the essential success factor because it will lead to important changes in how the government does its business. Policies, procedures and regulations also need to be modified in order to address cloud computing. Misconceptions and marketing hype also threatens cloud-computing adoption. To combat this, education and implementation examples are
7. Nowadays, individuals are so accustomed to technology that they rarely take into consideration what it takes to bring signals etc. to the planet. Having said that, the satellite sphere in space around the globe is very crowded to say the least, what are governments doing environmentally to keep space “uncluttered” while they gain these new technologies?
Unfortunately, I believe we have yet to get to a point where governments are willing to reduce their use of space due to environmental concerns. For now, national priorities outweigh those concerns.
8. On a lighter note, what inspires you most about being a dad?
The everyday challenges associated with guiding our children as they find their way into adulthood always inspires.
9. What is your most memorable Dad moment?
That is a difficult question, but it has to be when my first son was born; a sense of overwhelming joy and responsibility