Security is vital to mission success

Laurie Barber, security manager, Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site Operations Center-Huntsville, Technical Center, U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command, says that security is vital to mission success.

National security is incredibly important and requires everyone’s cooperation for it to be effective, according to one of the Space and Missile Defense Command’s security managers.

While not everyone works in security, it is everyone’s responsibility to work together to protect national security, according to Laura Barber, the security manager at SMDC’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site Operation Center-Huntsville

“Without the support of everyone, I cannot do my job,” she said. “Security is a team effort.”

Barber began her career in security in 1995 at a NASA access control office while she and her husband, Bill, were living in California. She said her husband’s Army service inspired her to get involved too.

“I decided I wanted to do my part for the warfighter,” she said. “I wanted something challenging where there was never a dull moment; where else would you go besides security? So, I started in security as a contractor for NASA at an access control badging office and quickly moved up to personnel security performing pre-adjudicating clearance investigations.”

Barber moved to Alabama in 1997 when her husband was assigned to Redstone Arsenal. She said she was disappointed to find there were no security jobs available at the time, so she had to wait for the right opportunity to come along.

“When we moved to Alabama there were no security jobs available right away. So I worked for the airport authority and then the barracks phone service,” she said. “From there I went to work as a defense contractor for 13 years. Then a security position opened at SMDC.”

Barber says security at SMDC is vital to accomplishing the command’s critical missions.

“Making sure employees are properly briefed on their roles and responsibilities in protecting classified information and working with program managers and mission customers on ways to protect mission data and equipment equates to mission success, which is very important,” she said. “It is not my job to say no but to work with personnel to see how it can be done efficiently, cost effectively while adhering to regulations.”

Barber said security’s role in the SMDC mission is more than just keeping cellphones out of facilities, but encompasses everything that goes into protecting national security, which supports Soldiers, civilians and contractors as they work toward their mission.

As the RTS security manager, Barber is OPSEC level II certified to review documents for public release ensuring sensitive information is not published. She also serves as RTS’ physical security officer, antiterrorism officer, emergency management officer, and contracting officer representative over RTS’ Access Control Program.

“My job is to keep everybody else out of trouble,” Barber said. “Security makes sure everyone understands how to protect classified and unclassified sensitive information and ensures we’re meeting all regulatory requirements. It’s our job to make sure the team can perform their mission properly and have all the security aspects covered.”

Barber said it is not just what happens at work that security has to think about, but also about what happens off duty or while Soldiers are deployed or on temporary duty.

“Security is a concern not just at work but also at home. Placing stick family members or name stickers on your cars can be a security issue,” she said. “Or when you call your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend while you are overseas, you have to be careful about what you say. It affects what goes on in the field. I’m sure everyone’s heard ‘lose lips sink ships.’”

Barber said her passion to excel in her career stems from her desire to be the best at what she does and her understanding of how imperative security is to the warfighter.

“I don’t just want us to pass an inspection,” she said. “I want to have the security program in the organization. I want to be a role model to the other security folks just entering the field.”

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