The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) will hold its 5th Annual Achievement Awards ceremony Thursday, Nov. 13, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will honor six professionals in the intelligence and national security sectors for their professional contributions to the community.
Lt. Gen. Mary Legere, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in the U.S. Army, will deliver the keynote address.
WashingtonExec spoke with award recipients about their nominations, what it means to them, their mission and more.
Today’s featured interview is with IS2 Tyler Sherman, an Intelligence Specialist with the U.S. Coast Guard. Sherman is the recipient of the John W. Warner Homeland Security Award, given to first responders and/or candidates from DHS, FBI or other federal, state, local or tribal law-enforcement personnel.
WashingtonExec: Did you know you were nominated for the award, or was it a surprise?
Tyler Sherman: I work with a supportive U.S. Coast Guard District 11 Intelligence Staff and an Air Station Command that communicates to the crew routinely. They both made me aware of the nomination. In the intelligence field there are so many bright and hard working professionals, I figured I was a long shot. I am humbled and honored to be associated with Intelligence and National Security Alliance and the John Warner Homeland Security Award.
WashingtonExec: Have you prepared a speech, or do you plan on saying the first thing that comes to mind?
Tyler Sherman: I really enjoy improvising and impromptu briefs, but I do like to have a plan. I will prepare a speech but I know I will go off script and be myself.
WashingtonExec: How would you describe your mission?
Tyler Sherman: I have the unique opportunity to work directly with U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircrews at Air Station Sacramento; an unusual position for an intelligence specialist. I provide the aircrews with what they need each day to accomplish the mission. I routinely network with the U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations and our district wide regional intelligence centers.
WashingtonExec: Finish the sentence: The best part of about my job is…
Tyler Sherman: The opportunity to instantly see how intelligence influences and assists operations. I learn something new each day from the aircrews, pilots and my co-workers that benefit the mission and future operations. Organizing and producing intelligence products that are timely and relevant while witnessing them in action is instant gratification.
WashingtonExec: Could you name an aspect of your job that you did not expect when you were first brought on?
Tyler Sherman: The amount of networking with other agencies and the amount of listening to my customers’ needs was unsuspected. I graduated training with a goal to be the best intelligence specialist I could be, not knowing exactly what I would be doing for an Air Station. I quickly learned the only way to be successful was to listen to my customers, the aircrews. This encouraged me collaborate with other agencies, U.S. Coast Guard entities, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
WashingtonExec: Who is someone you admire or who has been a mentor to you throughout your career?
Tyler Sherman: I am blessed to serve alongside great people in the U.S. Coast Guard. To pinpoint one person in my career who has helped me would be leaving out a lot of people who played an integral role in my development including my family, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary members, my current command under Captain Doug Nash and Commander Stefanie Lincoln and all my co-workers that I have encountered of the last four years.
WashingtonExec: What is something you are most proud of, personally?
Tyler Sherman: Graduating with my undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University and taking what I learned into Coast Guard Intelligence. I graduated with a bachelor’s of science in business administration, specializing in marketing. I see intelligence as market research, knowing your customers’ needs and wants; along with your competitor/adversary’s mission and producing effective plans to prevail in the marketplace/maritime domain.
WashingtonExec: What organizations are you involved with outside of work?
Tyler Sherman: When not working, I enjoy spending time playing men’s softball and managing our Coast Guard Air Station’s softball team. Also, I umpire fast pitch softball and baseball with various organizations. Maintaining the integrity of the game and helping teach younger players the game is rewarding.
WashingtonExec: What more do you think organizations in the intelligence community should be doing to engage the millennial workforce?
Tyler Sherman: I think INSA taking the role and leading the way with recognizing intelligence professionals with the awards is a fantastic way to engage the millennial workforce. Their efforts to recognize professionals reinforce that hard work and being creative does not go unseen.
WashingtonExec: What is your favorite intelligence movie or book?
Tyler Sherman: The movie Sneakers starring Robert Redford. In 1992, it prefaces the cyber challenges we are encountering today and how important cyber security is becoming. A close second would be SpyGame, which I believe is an example of how our operators are in dangerous situations and how important intelligence/information can be to them.