The finalists for WashingtonExec’s 2023 Pinnacle Awards were announced Sept. 25, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person Nov. 16.

Next is Dan Rolph, senior vice president of cyber warfare at Parsons Corp., and finalist in the Cybersecurity Executive of the Year, Public Company category. Here, he shares what has made him successful in his career and his primary focus areas going forward.

What has made you successful in your current role? 

A leader must be adaptable to many factors to navigate their business forward, and I strongly believe that early analysis and understanding of emerging technology provides that leader a competitive edge.

Even if the technology solves several small problems rather than a massive one, the act of investigating and prototyping solutions keeps highly technical employees engaged and any efficiencies gained remain as part of the business going forward.

What are your primary focus areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?  

Approaching 2024 and beyond, my primary focus area remains steadfast on the application of emerging technologies to support and enhance the United States’ asymmetric warfare posture. Our country’s kinetic abilities remain by and far world-class, and careful consideration of technology to enhance readiness and individual operator effectiveness will allow us to maintain our position as the preeminent cyber warfare force.

Currently, many see artificial intelligence as a potential solution to everything, making certain Government and contractor roles obsolete or otherwise taking over the world.

Shifting the lens, I see emerging artificial intelligence technologies as tools that can serve in a force-multiplier capacity, increasing the efficacy of current cyber operators and reducing required training time for our future force.

These increases in productivity, not unlike that which was seen in the industrial revolution, will allow our forces to keep ahead of adversaries which have stronger control over armed forces recruitment, retention, and the overall numbers game that comes with having a population several times our own.

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