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Nigerian expert, Adepoju handles cyber threats for U.S. Navy

By Alvin Plexico

FORT MEADE, Maryland – Petty Officer 1st Class Adebayo Adepoju, a native of Eruwa, Nigeria, protects America from cyber threats as a member of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.

Information technology advances at a staggering pace. Practically all major systems on ships, aircraft, submarines, and unmanned vehicles are networked to some degree. This includes most combat, communications, engineering, and navigation systems.  While connectivity provides the military with speed, agility, and precision, it also opens numerous attack opportunities for adept cyber adversaries.

Adepoju attended Methodist Grammar School in Bodija Ibadan and graduated in 2001. Today, Adepoju uses skills and values similar to those learned in Nigeria.

“I learned the importance of resilience,” said Adepoju. “We always look for opportunities to get better. Joining the Navy was a challenge I needed to learn from. I’m thankful for the lessons I learned growing up in Nigeria that I continue to use today.”

Today, Adepoju plays a crucial role in defending against cyber threats in support of the command’s mission to collect, analyze and report on communication signals using computers, specialized computer-assisted equipment, and video display terminals.

According to Navy officials, networks are under continuous threats of attack by a broad array of state actors, terrorist organizations, ‘hacktivist’ groups, organized crime, and individual hackers. Motivations include personal gain, information theft, discrediting the United States, sabotage, political gain, denial or degradation of the Navy’s access to cyberspace.

“As leaders and experts in Information Warfare, our sailors and civilians are at the forefront of disrupting the ability of bad actors to execute their plans, which often degrade U.S. interests,” said Vice Admiral Ross Myers, commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet. “Because of our workforce and their world class skills and dedication to service, today’s Navy has the agility, tactical skills, advanced technologies and innovative mindset to succeed. Alongside our sister services, Fleet Cyber Command is on the frontlines to thwart malicious efforts in cyberspace – we are engaged against adversaries, around the globe and around the clock – 24/7/365.”

That’s why the work being done by Adepoju is so important.

Serving in the Navy means Adepoju is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“National security is our business,” said Adepoju. “The Navy has been out there on the frontline both at sea and on the ground making sure our adversaries are kept at bay. Additionally, we have a dedicated team of intel service members who ensure we are safe from cyber attack.”

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

Adepoju and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I’m proud of being meritoriously advanced to my current rank and for my selection as Sailor of the Year,” said Adepoju. “On both occasions, my leadership recognized my small contribution to my team. I’m honored to serve as a role model for junior sailors both on and off duty.”

As Adepoju and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“My service in the Navy is a dedication to serve my country and be part of something greater than myself,” added Adepoju. “I’m honored to serve this country that has done so much for me.”

Adepoju graduated from Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Missouri, in 2013 with a Master of Business Administration.

His brother, Adeola Adepoju, resides in Virginia Beach serving with the Army National Guard.