Rob Williams

Executive Director, Discovery Lab – Global (DLG)

Talk Title: Cybersecurity – Threats, Taxonomy, Technologies, and Training



DR. ROB WILLIAMS is the executive director of Discovery Lab – Global (DLG) and the course director for a cybersecurity certification education and training program for veterans and active service member planning to transition to civilian life with a career interest in cybersecurity. DLG’s Cybersecurity Veterans Assistance Program (CVAP), is a $2,450 cybersecurity program offered at no-cost as a Department of Labor funded initiative. In addition to veterans and active service members seeking to transition into a career in cybersecurity, CVAP also accepts government civilians and contractors who are interested in strengthening their cybersecurity credentialing. Prior to DLG, Dr. was the founding director of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Discovery Lab, an innovation lab he directed for 10 years before retiring from the Air Force to continue Discovery Lab philosophically as the 501(c)(3) Discovery Lab – Global (DLG) a strategic workforce development focused on technology areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cybersecurity, Robotics, 3D Printed Drones, Wearable Med-Tech, and Virtual Reality. DLG is in its 6th year of operation.  His past experience include being the technical advisor for an advanced exploitation algorithms research branch within AFRL Sensors Directorate, a senior intelligence analyst at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), DARPA program manager specializing in micro-UAVs, special projects engineer at National Security Agency (NSA), and engineering professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) teaching courses in cybersecurity relevant electronics, computer networks, operating systems, and software engineering.   He is a past recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) National Engineer of the Year award.


Dramatic cyberattacks on government defense agencies, hospitals, city governments, and the nation’s energy, utilities, and food-production infrastructures in this past year have combined to highlight cybersecurity attacks as a serious national defense and security threat. This talk will detail the key technologies, techniques, and tools used for both cyber-attacks and cyber-defense. Special emphasis will also be given to the impact of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Edge Computing, Wearable Technologies, and Cloud Computing on cybersecurity. In addition, the Department of Defense now requires companies to earn Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) to do business with DoD. All of this has created a growing demand for cyber-talent in both government and industry. The talk will conclude with a quick overview of the DLG cybersecurity certification program funded by the Department of Labor that takes place inside of a 3D virtual cybersecurity (“avatar”) campus prototyped in an NSA-funded cybersecurity pilot program in 2018. The cybersecurity program is in its 3rd year. It is conducted inside DLG’s 3D virtual cyber campus and is designed to help veterans, active service members, government civilians, and government contractors prepare to pass the CompTIA Security+ cybersecurity certification exam on the first attempt. No prior IT or cybersecurity experience is required. Students graduating from the program have successfully passed the certification exam. Similar cybersecurity certification training programs at on-site training centers typically cost $2,450 but the September class will be offered at no-cost to NAECON attendees.