Being one of a baker’s dozen of children affords certain advantages, such as having an in-home toy store or a ready-made baseball team during extended family events. However, when a favorite toy becomes broken or an autographed ball disappears, deploying counterintelligence tactics to identify a culprit among 12 siblings becomes invaluable. For John McCann, mastering that skill may have laid the foundation for a career in digital forensics.
McCann is the Chief of Plans and Policy for the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) in Linthicum, Maryland. DC3 is a Field Operating Agency and Air Force laboratory under the Air Force Inspector General for digital and multimedia forensics innovation, standards, training, and technical solutions research and development.
McCann also leads the Office of Research and Technology Applications, or ORTA, at DC3. ORTAs are responsible for developing collaborative interactions with industry, academia, and other government entities through an Air Force program called Technology Transfer and Transition (T3).
“I see myself as the facilitator for DC3,” says McCann, “to partner with other technical organizations in developing our capabilities and delivering innovative products and services to the operational community.”
“DC3 delivers superior digital and multimedia forensic services, cyber technical training, vulnerability sharing, technical solutions development, and cyber analysis,” McCann states. “By DoD policy, DC3 is responsible for advancing digital and multimedia forensic research, development, test, and evaluation, and for collaborating with government and private industry to keep abreast of cutting-edge technology.”
DC3 has partnered with several educational institutions to advance and improve the digital forensics workforce within the DoD, a number of which are accredited under the National Centers for Digital Forensics Academic Excellence.
DC3 recently entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Defense Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ND-ISAC) to elevate the cybersecurity of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) through enhanced information sharing and analytical collaboration. “The CRADA has allowed greater cyber threat information sharing across a broader sector of the DIB and protects DoD program information residing within industry,” said McCann.
“DC3 is a small organization, but we deliver solutions that have high impact for the communities of interest we serve,” McCann notes. “Being part of this and knowing the significance of our contributions provides me with a sense of pride and accomplishment.”
His sense of accomplishment began prior to officially becoming an ORTA. “I initially was support to the prior DC3 ORTA,” explains McCann. “Organizational and personnel moves in 2017 determined the best fit at the time was within the DC3 Plans and Policy Division, [with] an assignment as the ORTA as an additional duty.”
As an office, experience and expertise in technology transfer continues to be a challenge for the DC3 ORTA. “I had no specific background with technology transfer prior to becoming the DC3 ORTA,” McCann confesses. “Leveraging the DoD and Air Force T3 workshops, and the resources available through the Air Force T3 Program Management Office have proven helpful.”
T3’s resources proved valuable for McCann and DC3 in December when they were awarded their first United States patent, USPTO number 10,853,177, for Performant Process for Salvaging Renderable Content from Digital Data Sources. This award aids in validating DC3’s mission to deliver superior digital forensics and multimedia lab services, cyber technical training, technical solutions development, and cyber analytics to numerous DoD cyber security areas.
It takes a team to make any organization successful, and who knows that better than someone who has been a team player since birth. Although it’s not a backyard baseball game, McCann is surely touching all the bases as he leads the ORTA at DC3.
To learn more about the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center, please visit https://www.dc3.mil/, https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-cyber-crime-center/, or follow @DC3Forensics on Twitter.