Chairman’s Corner: April 2018

Last week, Patricia and I welcomed our seventh great-grandchild. We are the proud parents of six children who blessed us with 31 grandchildren. We have a large, beautiful family which continues to grow.

I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with all of my children and their spouses in our home state of California last month. We reconnected over cards and delicious food. We laughed and we told stories. As I looked around the table, I noticed a few things. First, all six of my children live in different states, including: California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and Virginia. All six of them have pursued different career paths. All six of them studied varying subject matter in school.

All six of them were fortunate enough to grow up in a country where they could pursue any goal they set. It doesn’t matter what state you live in or what industry interests you, there are opportunities for all who are willing to work.

Now, pursuit of goals and dreams do not come easily just because we live in this nation. It’s the exact opposite, really. It requires consistent learning, hard work, and vision. While it may not be easy, it is most certainly possible.

Chairman’s Corner: March 2018

I recently came across an article that has caused me to think about happiness. The subject matter was uplifting and something I believe is applicable and useful to all of us. The article, written by Travis Bradberry, identified habits of “supremely happy people.”

What Dr. Bradberry wrote has stuck with me because the research he conducted to produce this list of habits is something I have learned for myself to be true. Dr. Brandberry concluded that supremely happy people do each of the following:

  1. They slow down to appreciate life’s little pleasures.
  2. They exercise.
  3. They spend money on other people.
  4. They surround themselves with the right people.
  5. They stay positive.
  6. They get enough sleep.
  7. They have deep conversations.
  8. They help others.
  9. They make an effort to be happy.
  10. They do things in-person.
  11. They have a growth mindset.

Now, I understand trying to implement eleven different strategies for happiness may be overwhelming. I would argue that this list can serve more as a buffet, where you pick and choose what you want to focus on. There is no question, however, that these habits tend to radiate from happy people. There is no question that it is more enjoyable to be around happy people than unhappy people.

I have experienced failures and success in business and politics. I have passed through trials and lived to see the blessings that come from them. In my nearly 80 years of life, I can honestly say that I have experienced true happiness and joy. I believe that the happy times are in part due to applying these eleven habits.

I know I’m more motivated to choose happiness. The wise words of President Lincoln continue to ring true, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

For more information on each of these habits, see Dr. Bradberry’s full article.

Chairman McKeon to Receive Silver Spur Award

Chairman McKeon will be honored with the esteemed Silver Spur award for his contributions to the Santa Clarita Valley community on Saturday, March 24th.

The Silver Spur Award is presented to an individual who has served the community in an exemplary way. Chairman McKeon has served the Santa Clarita Valley for over fifty years as a successful businessman, community leader, and elected official.

Chairman McKeon will be recognized for the work he has done within the SCV community, career achievements, and advocacy for education.

On the night of the event, cocktails will be served at 6:00 p.m. followed by a dinner at 7:00 p.m in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Air Force One Pavilion.

Additional information on the schedule of events, location, and attire can be found here.                    Those interested in placing a tribute in the event’s program, click here.                                                    Ticket prices and information can be found here.

Chairman’s Corner: February 2018

I was recently asked to write a piece on cybersecurity for the Washington Times. Below is my article:

‘Zero Trust’ computer policy: A timely solution

Challenges posed by cybercrime are one of the most frightening threats our country faces today.

In recent years, we have had a reactive approach to cybersecurity. We hear about it when an organization has been hacked or sensitive information has been released. Organizations, companies and our government agencies should not simply be reacting when a cybercrime has taken place, but instead need to be proactive.

In order to be proactive, however, the main challenge from which all other cybersecurity issues stem needs to be identified. The United States, along with the entire world, is seeing a global cyber catastrophe that is causing us to reconsider how to establish a network defense. Now more than ever, cybercriminals have access to advanced technologies that put people at risk. That means our government agencies need to establish better defenses.

We have heard of retailers, financial institutions and health care organizations experiencing major hacks, which is why it was disheartening to see that in the 2017 U.S. State and Federal Government Cybersecurity Report, government institutions were listed among the “bottom performers,” scoring lower than retail, health care and information services. I believe that is due to a misidentification of the underlying cybersecurity problem.

The real problem stems from an outdated “computer architecture” that was developed without knowing how today’s cyber connection would look and operate. This obsolete foundation is essentially why cybersecurity attacks take place.

Our defenses are no match for these security breaches. Our computer architecture has reached its ceiling. There was no way the developers and engineers who designed it 40 years ago could have envisioned how the internet and the impact of global connection would have facilitated such cyberthreats. The demand for an increase in computing capabilities and programs overshadowed the computer architecture with the development of the internet.

I have had the opportunity to work alongside experts within the cybersecurity industry who also believe the computer architecture is the main issue at hand. Ed Brinskele, the CEO of Vir2us, has said that IT professionals are dependent on what the “experts” determine are the best practices or defenses for cybersecurity.

“The difficulty is that there has been a significant failure on the part of solutions providers to recognize that a keeping-the-bad-guys-out approach reveals a failure to correctly identify the problem,”  Mr. Brinskele said. “Once the checkpoints in these solutions are bypassed, they provide virtually no security. This is known as an outside-in and top-down approach and is a fundamentally flawed strategy. As a result, these solutions only addressthe symptoms of a much more fundamental design problem.”

To address these newfound security challenges, antivirus and firewalls were created to provide somewhat of a Band-Aid. These solutions are not good enough to combat the technology that is available to cybercriminals.

Our outdated architecture is a sinking ship. There are a number of holes in the boat, and we keep trying to patch it up instead of rebuilding it so we can float. These patches include heuristic algorithms and whitelisting, but even these solutions continue to fail. They simply cannot withstand the constant and ever-changing threats.

Additionally, it is virtually impossible to attempt to pinpoint threats from a list-based strategy. Every day, these lists evolve and develop. There is no way to stay current on possible threats or attacks.

“Antivirus and firewalls are list-based solutions and can only deal with known threats. In today’s world of morphing viruses and malware, these solutions are less than 27 percent effective,” Mr. Brinskele continued. “[A leading consumer cybersecurity firm] recently said that their average time to identify threats and update lists is more than nine months. In a challenge that is moving at the speed of light this is problematic. While combating challenges moving at the speed of light, that solution is unacceptable.”

Not only do these outdated solutions consistently fail, they are also extremely inefficient. It has been reported that these “legacy solutions” can consume up to 80 percent of network bandwidth capacity and computer processing power. These inefficiencies negatively impact revenue and productivity. According to the U.S. Government, global business and institutions lose over $1 trillion to fending off cybercrimes and attacks annually.

Rather than trying to fend off possible attacks, implementing a “Zero Trust” policy or architecture would be significantly more practical and successful than fighting to stay current on a list of emerging threats. With a Zero Trust architecture, the “Known” list is manageable and can be maintained.

As cyberthreats continue to unfold, we need to take a hard look and consider improving our computer architecture. A new approach and a radical change within the cybersecurity industry needs to take place in order to provide dynamic security.

Chairman’s Corner: January 2018

With the start of a new year comes the sense of a new beginning. Many of us will make New Year’s resolutions. Some will succeed and follow through with these goals. Some will simply recommit to goals they have set in the past, but for whatever reason, were not able to see come to fruition.

I, too, have set a number of goals – both personally and professionally. While I have new goals for myself and for our firm, there is one goal that I plan to “recommit” to. It is a goal I try to expand on each and every year we are in business and that is to better live up to the McKeon Group standard.

Responsive. Reliable. Results.

That is the McKeon Group standard. That is what we promise our clients. That is what we deliver. But there is always room for improvement.

As this new year unfolds, I have decided to find measurable ways in which I can better live up to the McKeon Group standard.

I plan on responding to our clients’ needs and helping them see growth and success. When I commit to getting a job or task done, our clients can rest assured knowing that it will be handled in a timely manner. In turn, our clients will see unprecedented results.

As we at the McKeon Group gear up for the 2018 year, our clients can expect us to be responsive, reliable, and ultimately see results – just like they have seen since we opened our doors. The only difference is this year we plan to take it up a notch.

Happy New Year to all!

Chairman McKeon Named a Featured Speaker for the Worldwide Speakers Group

Chairman McKeon has become a featured speaker for the Worldwide Speakers Group. The Worldwide Speakers Group is the “leading global professional services firm providing innovative solutions in the global lecture industry to corporate, trade, education, and commercial customers worldwide.”

There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to become a featured speaker. Chairman McKeon was selected to be a speaker specializing in the following topics: education, government and politics, inspirational and motivational, leadership and strategic management, news and media, success and teamwork, as well as world and international subjects.

Chairman McKeon’s bio and Worldwide Speakers Group profile can be found here.

The McKeon Group Office Expansion Complete

Following a 2017 year that was full of growth, the McKeon Group took necessary action in order to ensure that their office space could accommodate their growing business. It was announced in the December newsletter that the McKeon Group offices were in the process of expanding. Now, just over a month later, all renovations have been completed and the new expansion is complete.

“Now that our office expansion is complete, we are anxious to get to work,” Howard McKeon, President of the McKeon Group, said. “We expect to capitalize on the growth that took place in 2017 and see even more success in 2018.”

The McKeon Group headquarters are located in Alexandria, Virginia. The expanded offices accompany their current space. With over 9,000 square feet of space, there will now be more than twenty offices and three conference rooms.

The McKeon Group Team Highlight: January 2017

During the Fall 2017 semester, Anna Pope worked as an intern for the McKeon Group. Pope was responsible for working with government affairs clients during her time as an intern. At the conclusion of her internship, Pope accepted a full-time position for the McKeon Group as an Associate.

Anna Pope is a government affairs intern at McKeon Group and graduated from Virginia Tech in May of 2017. Anna is from northern Virginia and attended public school in Fairfax County. During her undergraduate years, Anna served in Student Government Association, worked as a Writing Center coach, and interned at Holland & Knight, LLP.

Chairman’s Corner: December 2017

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Jennifer Griffin of Fox News. We were at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library attending the annual Reagan National Defense Forum, along with hundreds of our nation’s brightest and most powerful defense leaders.

In the interview, Jennifer asked me about the state of our military’s readiness. While I do my best to remain positive and hopeful in regards to our country’s future, the truth is we have some glaring issues that need to be resolved in order to strategically plan for and carry out defense measures in the event of an attack.

Following the interview, I was able to reflect on the work we are doing here at the McKeon Group. The 2017 year was an excellent one for our firm. We expanded our business by launching new branches of service, the most successful being our new education and workforce department. We were able to see progress and complete a number of projects on behalf of our clients within the defense, cyber security, agriculture and transportation industries. We hired talented and experienced professionals. We started an exceptional internship program. We expanded our offices.

As great as 2017 was for our business, my interview with Jennifer reminded me that there is still work that needs to be done. We could pat ourselves on the back for what our company has accomplished this year, but that does not move the work forward. Instead, it is time to buckle down and continue the good fight here in Washington.

I consider myself a blessed man to be surrounded by an incredible team here at the McKeon Group, but I also understand we must stay motivated in order to help further great causes. And in 2018, you will see the McKeon Group team doing just that.

Chairman McKeon Recognized At RNDF

Saturday, December 2nd concluded the annual Reagan National Defense Forum held in Simi Valley, California.

The forum was founded with the purpose of “bringing together leaders and key stakeholders in the defense community – including members of Congress, military leaders, industry, scholars, and administration officials – to address the health of our national defense and stimulate discussions that promote policies to strengthen the U.S. military.

Chairman McKeon has played a major role in the forum since its conception, and on Saturday, he received the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Service Award for his efforts and accomplishments within the defense industry.