Meet Agency experts awarded NATO medals for their service. The NCI Agency is constantly evolving to respond to advances in technology and guard NATO against new threats.
And the Agency's employees help it adapt, guiding projects through difficult timelines and complex technical challenges to deliver critical technology and services to the Alliance.
General Manager Kevin J. Scheid, on behalf of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, awarded 12 such employees the NATO Meritorious Service Medal. They were recognized in a ceremony on 13 December 2018 for outstanding service to the organization.
We asked the honourees about their careers, and more specifically, what it has been like to work for NATO's tech and cyber hub. Some described their most exciting projects. Others outlined how they overcame setbacks and challenges. And some of them told us who, or what, inspires them.
Here's what our honourees had to say. Their answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Nick Price, Senior Scientist
Price is a member of a small team of operational analysts who provide continuous expert analytical support to the Afghan Assessment Group (AAG) at Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. From mid-August 2016 to mid-February 2017 Price spent more than four months in theatre. He even spent the Christmas period in theatre for the third time since he joined the team supporting the AAG in 2012. During his deployments Price made significant contributions to the availability of quality data and analytical expertise to the headquarters.
What is the most exciting thing you have done while working for the Agency?
Nick Price said: "The most exciting thing I did was my first deployment to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2012. It was my first time providing deployed support. Going into the ops room and seeing the mission playing out on giant screens brought into focus the importance of the support we provide."
Anthony Verschaeve, Cell Head and Engineer
In his role as a lead Routing and Switching engineer for the NCI Agency business network, Verschaeve distinguished himself. Verschaeve inherited management of the NATO transmission network, which was expanded under his leadership. He spearheaded the effort to create a secure, modern Wi-Fi based network, with redundancy and complete portability for NATO staff amongst three core sites and more than 30 additional global NATO locations throughout the Alliance. The network enables critical services such as communications, security and cyber defence.
What was the hardest project that you've worked on?
Anthony Verschaeve said: "The hardest project I worked on for the Agency is the expansion of a network sized and built for 600-800 users, to 3,500-4,000 NATO users. The network encompasses multiple NATO locations throughout the Alliance, on different levels of network classification. The expansion of this network had to be completed within critical timeline boundaries, by a small team representing all of the Agency's service lines. The project was finished well in time; and its major success was due to the dedication, outstanding personal contribution and the will to succeed by every single member of this team."
Gregor Gosepath, Senior Service Engineer
The Active Network Infrastructure (ANWI) project is a partnership between industry and the Agency to create modern networks for the new NATO headquarters at different classification levels, where personnel can use their preferred method of communication easily, reliably and securely no matter what application or device they choose to use. As a senior service engineer, Gosepath performed under high pressure while leading the ANWI Programme Office Engineering Team. Gosepath produced high quality technical recommendations, which led to sound solutions. Gosepath is a very committed, highly-motivated, talented resource.
What is the best part of working at the Agency?
Gregor Gosepath said: "The best part of working in the Agency is experiencing the loyalty of people from multiple nations and the dedication of all staff to deliver meaningful services to the NATO Enterprise, Alliance and Nations. In the words of General Colin Powell: 'Trust is the glue that holds people together and is the lubricant that keeps an organization moving forward.' During the last projects, work was done, products were created and services were delivered because the matrix teams worked together based on a trusted foundation."
Steffen Broecker, IT System Manager
Broecker has consistently excelled in executing his duties and providing exemplary support to the Agency and its customers. However, it is his role as the Acting Operations Manager which distinguished him. The services he oversees include voice, video and network connections to all 29 Allies, as well as operational deployments. Without his efforts, these critical services used by the Alliance would not have been as expertly implemented and missions would have faltered. Broecker has worked tirelessly to ensure that staff is managed fairly and services are delivered professionally.
Who inspired you at the Agency?
Steffen Broecker said: "Throughout my NATO career, I was inspired by many persons in and outside of the Agency, Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and former SACEUR Admiral James Stavridis, to name but two. However, my daily drive and inspiration derives from my very diverse team and my immediate management. Most of them are still serving in the Agency whereas others decided to move on or retire. Without naming them, they have certain traits in common: they put the team first, give trust in advance, accept mistakes, do not fear making decisions, focus on achievements and - being in the operational environment for a long time – they have a 'get the job done' attitude. In recent years, it was important for me to have people around me who accepted and embraced change. They were and are a constant reminder to not rest on achievements or laurels."