From Sailor to Sentinel

White male standing in front of Air Force One

Tylor Describes his Cyber Security Journey from a Naval Post in the White House to Northrop Grumman.

Growing up, Systems Administrator Tylor wanted to be a pilot flying jumbo cargo aircraft. But life had other plans: upon receiving an acceptance letter from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he quickly realized the tuition was too costly without a full-ride scholarship. So, he decided to turn his high school computer science hobby into a decade-long career with the U.S. Navy.  

After spending two years forward-deployed in the Seventh Fleet onboard the USS Frank Cable, Tylor landed a special duty assignment as a cyber security analyst with the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). Serving under Presidents Obama and Trump, Tylor was charged with identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities throughout the Presidential information technology (IT) enterprise, thwarting critical infrastructure vulnerabilities both at the White House complex and around the world. His accomplishments led to him earning Sailor of the Year for all of Defense Information Systems Agency and WHCA in 2019. 

“I wound up falling into the world of IT and found I absolutely loved it,” said Tylor. 

After serving four years at WHCA, Tylor was ready to start his next chapter. He wanted a civilian role that would provide similar job satisfaction as he’d had working on the frontline of cyber security.

After closing out his military career with the Navy, Tylor completed his bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security and Information Assurance at Western Governors University. After perusing job advertisements from various defense contractors, he landed on Northrop Grumman’s newly awarded Sentinel program — a place where he could continue his important work serving his nation while relocating near his family’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“Having maintained and modernized such sensitive Command and Control environments at the White House, the idea of leaving my touch on the Minuteman III replacement gives me an incredible sense of purpose and pride,” said Tylor.

“I feel empowered to grow here. My manager has been extremely helpful in getting me to where I am today, as well as outlining a path for me to continue to grow.” 

— Tylor, Systems Administrator

Today, Tylor supports the Sentinel Command and Launch team in Huntsville, Alabama, acting as an IT liaison and helping software developers knock out their roadblocks so they can continue the important work that they do. As someone who knows first-hand the challenge of transitioning from the military to civilian life, Tylor also takes time at work to connect with transitioning veterans and uses his experience to provide guidance and support.  

“It can be challenging and a rough road at first, but if you stick it out and hang in there, Northrop Grumman works really well with veterans, particularly veterans with disabilities; there are a variety of resource groups for support,” said Tylor, who said that he was able to transfer his security clearance to his new role. “You can easily roll your military service into a thriving career at Northrop Grumman.”  

white male sailor in uniform

Getting an advanced degree was another important part of Tylor’s transition to civilian life and, in May 2022, he graduated with his master’s in cyber security and information assurance from Western Governor’s University.

“I put off higher education for as long as I could while I was enlisted, but after joining Northrop Grumman, I realized it’s time to get it done,” said Tylor, who is currently working towards post-degree certifications in cybersecurity.  

As far as next steps, Tylor has his career aspirations set high after his recent graduation: his ultimate goal is a role in cyber security.  

“I feel empowered to grow here,” said Tylor. “My manager has been extremely helpful in getting me to where I am today, as well as outlining a path for me to continue to grow.” 

Tylor also feels that Huntsville — which he believes is a great balance of both city and small town — is the perfect spot for growth.  

“Huntsville is a diverse community and, with the defense industry and FBI headquarters, there is a huge influx of former military like myself,” said Tylor. “It’s a nice melting pot of people, similar to D.C. and other defense cities — and it’s growing like crazy! I’d absolutely recommend moving here; it’s a best kept secret.”  

Reflecting, Tylor said he has achieved his goal of finding a civilian role where he can continue to support national defense while using his clearance. 

“My drive to succeed on Sentinel comes from my passion in keeping America safe and working at Northrop Grumman means that I can continue to invest in America, just like I did when I was enlisted, keeping us a world leader in defense,” said Tylor. “Cyber security is an emerging battlefield — future conflicts are going to be fought in cyber space, so securing that is of the utmost importance. I look forward to being an integral ally in that battle of the future.”  

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