By James M. Marconi
Public Affairs, Defense Technical Information Center
Each year, the Secretary of Defense honors civilian and military personnel in the National Capital Region with the Spirit of Service Recognition, awarded for extraordinary public service achievements within the Department of Defense and in the broader community.
During a May 20 ceremony, Oliver Minall, cybersecurity chief for the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), received this award from Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Science & Technology, Barbara McQuiston.
“Oliver epitomizes our ideals as civil servants,” said Christopher Thomas, DTIC’s administrator. “He is a great asset with broad technical expertise who also generously volunteers his skills and his time within the government and to community organizations. We’re incredibly proud of his accomplishments, and this well-deserved award.”
Minall’s dedication to community service stretches back decades, supporting a broad array of civic activities and organizations.
“I’ve always been passionate about giving back to the community in general,” Minall said, “and happy to have had so many different service opportunities from the military to civil service to several of the different volunteer associations I’ve been able to work with throughout the years.”
He frequently uses personal vacation time to work with veteran support organizations and volunteers for events that include preparing holiday food baskets for families in need, Adopt-a-Highway cleanup efforts, and engagement with the Katsucon Japanese Cultural Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to “creating an environment for cultural understanding and exchange,” said Minall.
Minall’s professional experience in various science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields – which includes active duty as a submarine nuclear reactor operator in the Navy – also features significantly in his service. One of his favorite ways to highlight STEM opportunities is talking to college students at his prior community college, Anne Arundel Community College. He also serves as an event coordinator and judge for the national level of the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot competition, during which students tackle real-world cybersecurity challenges. During his day job at DTIC, he volunteers time to mentor graduates and professionals in government internship roles, providing insight into cybersecurity skills and career advancement.
“By being able to at least provide a little bit of mentorship, a little bit of knowledge, I think it goes a long way in being able to promote STEM programs and provide additional opportunities that may not have been realized,” Minall said.
Another organization benefitting from Minall’ s experience is the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, a state organization that bolsters public health infrastructure. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Minall leveraged his pharmacy background to provide information at community events and assist at vaccination clinics. “I feel that the main thing to keep in mind is that volunteering isn’t something that has to be done alone,” Minall said. “You can form lifelong friendships that embrace the spirit of service and allow for a better outlook on life.”