Transcript of NPPD
Host: Hello. This is John Besselman. Welcome to another edition of the OGC Podcast series. Today, I am talking to Dan Sutherland. Hello, Dan.
Guest: Good morning. How are you.
Host: Dan, I was just talking about your title. I don’t know what your title is.
Guest: I’m not so sure I do either, but, ah, o.k., here goes. I am the Associate General Counsel of the National Protections and Programs Legal Division. That’s a mouth full.
Host: I wasn’t going to get…is that on a card?
Guest: Ah, it’s a very long card.
Host: You can get that on a card?
Guest: Ah, it’s a very long card.
Host: We’ve known each other a very long time.
Host: I didn’t know your title until this very moment. I don’t. I’m almost certain I don’t know it now. Ah, you are closely affiliated with NPPD.
Host: And I will tell you I have looked it up several times preparing for our conversation today. But I’m really not sure what NPPD even stands for. Can you help me out there?
Guest: Well, it’s really actually a, an important point. It’s not just a funny point. It’s an important point. NPPD stands for National Protection Programs Directorate, and it is a term that, ah at least the legend goes, that our former General Counsel, Gus Coldabella, came up with. Ah, they were getting ready to send a letter to the Hill saying they were going to restructure parts of the Department and they were going to put all these different functions in this new thing. And he was getting ready to sign off on this letter at midnight some night. They had to get it out the door and he looked at some of the other lawyers, bleary-eyed sitting in a conference room nearly midnight. And they said “what should we call this thing?” And they came up with National Protection and Programs Directorate. And to this day he laughs about it and rues the day he came up with that, you know, completely non-descriptive title. So, I was just mentioning to you that just yesterday the House Homeland Committee passed a bill that would change our name to Cyber and Infrastructure Protection Agency. Now, I’m not sure that will stick. I mean, it’s got to work it’s way through the House and the Senate. But anyway, it’s a little more descriptive and it gives you a sense of what the, what the, this organization does.
Host: It’s definitely more descriptive and that’s helpful to people like me. You’re in, you’re in good luck today because I al…know almost nothing about what NPPD does. I will say this.
Host: I’ve had some contacts with NPPD over the years and every experience I have had with them has been positive in that the product was top notch, the service people knew what they were doing. But I really was never really sure what NPPD did. Someone had to direct me to them. Can you give us an overview of what NDDP did, does?
Guest: It’s um, I think that description that the House came up with is pretty good. Cyber and infrastructure protection. So we do… its really a growing technology start up within the Department. It used to be, when it was a directorate, when Gus came up with that name, a few hundred people, it’s now thirty-five hundred employees, thirteen thousand contractors and over a billion dollars in budget. That’s not a directorate. That’s an operating component. So we are moving toward that environment. The Directorate NPPD does, um, telecom, cyber, biometrics, and then physical infrastructure protection, too. Chemical plants. We have a regulatory program dealing with chemical, ah, plants. But, um, the electric grid, nuclear sector and others, um, so we do physical and cyber infrastructure protection. A lot of our employees, just in quantity, are with the Federal Protective Service, who protect the infrastructure of the federal government, all the federal buildings.
Host: That’s an impressive portfolio.
Host: Which ah…I’m not going to ask you to rank the most important, because it would be impossible, I think, to do. Ah, but what, how do you see the organization moving forward in the next five years or so? What do you think it will to focus on?
Guest: Well, it’s going to focus more and more on the integration of these disparate functions that I just talked about. Each…we’re, we’re in a way a microcosm of the Department of Homeland Security, that was twenty-two different agencies that came together. We’re about four or five different organizations that have been put together in these last couple of years and the next couple of years are going to work on integrating more. Particularly the cyber function and the physical infrastructure. People out there in the real world are understanding more and more that cyber and physical are connected. For example, in the electric grid, the internet of things, ah, you know, industry in, in the country is connected. Ah, wirelessly or through fiber, you know, to the internet. And so, our physical functions of everyday life are more and more connected to cyber. Cyber’s not something different. They’re really connected. It’s a type of infrastructure. This organization is more and more, we’re going to move to…I’ll give you a practical example. The Federal Protective Service are, ah, do physical protection of the federal buildings. They are more and more looking at ways to do infrastructure analysis of federal buildings where they’re looking at the cyber infrastructure of a federal building as well as the physical infrastructure. It’s a really neat, cutting edge development that federal buildings absolutely need and FPS because now they’re connected to these really sophisticated cyber folks within our organization are going to be able to deliver that service. That’s just one example of how we’re connecting more of that cyber and physical infrastructure mission.
Host: You must face a mountain of legal issues with that kind of portfolio. Can you give us an example what you deal with from a day to day or week to week basis?
Guest: Yeah. We’re the General Counsel to this growing little technology company. It’s not so little any more. It’s, you know, as I said, thirty five hundred employees, a billion dollars in budget, another thirteen thousand contractors. So, we are privileged to give the legal advice on all those issues. For example, there’s a lot of issues with the cyber operations. In other words, a company or another government agency wants us to come in and do like, penetration testing on their networks. Well, we have to have consent with them. So we spend a lot of time, our cyber lawyers negotiating these agreements with either private company or government agencies. So, that’s cyber operations. But it stretches all the way to the other end. Our Federal Protective Service lawyers are often real estate lawyers. They’re neg…because we are, um, putting security in buildings. A lot of times, you know, federal officers are located in commercial buildings. And we’re doing real estate negotiations. Where’re we going to put, put that security inside your, your building. So we’re with GSA and others on that kind of thing. And then we stretch through all legal advice you can image in between. We do you know, the labor and employment law advice, the procurement, well, we don’t do the procurement advice. That really comes from General Law, but they’re our colleagues. They also support the same, ah, organization, so I’m mentioning them because, as OGC has to full service support this growing business. But our particular group we do the ah, you know, fiscal law, appropriations, legislation. We’ve had, I think, in the past two years almost fifteen pieces of legislation or executive orders either passed to Congress of either come out of the White House related to us and we’ve negotiated been in the middle of all that type of work. So, it’s just a wide range of legal issues.
Host: Now, privacy has to be something that’s on your agenda because, well, one it’s important to us as Americans and two, its made a lot of news recently in the last few months with some of the cases that have made the front page. Do you grapple with any issues like that?
Guest: Constantly. Now, we’re so fortunate at the Department to have a privacy and civil liberty structure. We have the Chief Privacy Officer and the structure associated with that and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and a structure associated with that. You and I first met when I was leading the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. But the Privacy Office is, you know, a sister entity, and they’re, there’re both allow our Department to have credibility in places that no other department of government has. This is the reason why Congress has passed so many pieces of legislation the last two years giving us a huge cyber mission because they trust us because we will protect people’s privacy. When cyber, particularly you’re dealing with a lot of data, and the “Joe on the Street” and the “Company on the Street’s” not going to share information with the government unless they are confident it’s going to be handled appropriately. So, our, our lawyers with the Privacy Office are constantly working through issues of that, a, protecting confidentially of the information-data that’s coming in.
Host: I’m assuming that the private citizen in the street as well as corporate entity is concerned about liability with the loss of the control of that information. The second thing I would have guessed would happen is that their concerned about will future customers will use that, use that service if their known to be giving information to the government. How do you deal with…
Host: … something like that?
Guest: Well, in the original Homeland Security Act there was a, ah, mechanism a, you know, ah, a regime created to deal with that called PCII, Protected Critical Infrastructure Information. Congress, from the very beginning of the Department, knew that this Department had to interact with the private sector. You know, malls or train, ah, um, networks or whatever. You know, how are you running your network. Share that with us so that we can help you in terms of threat. Information and that kind of thing. Well, why are they going to share that? Well, the Congress created a regime to protect that, so, if, so, ah, a private company shares with, ah, with ah, DHS, information that, that is proprietary in that regard, they can ask that be marked PCII. And it’s a whole classification regime that we have, ah, you know, whole office organized for and all of us have to take training for just like a lot of other, you know, classification regimes. There’s a cover page put on top of it and all that. So, that’s PCII. And, and that’s been around since the beginning of the Department but it’s just being leveraged a lot more in this environment now. Another is in, in the cyber brings a whole new element to everything. So, ah, Congress has required us to really move into some really neat new innovative areas where we’re sharing information machine to machine. So, a machine at Xerox or at ah, John Deere or something, gets some sort of malicious activity or they think might be malicious activity, there’s a protocol now created where if their computers are, are connected to ours, their network defense that they’ve built in will automatically send that to our machines. Our machines will ah, anonymize it and take out proprietary information and personal information and then spread that back out to everybody else who’s connected so everybody can benefit from what either what we’re seeing or what a private company is seeing so there’s a real-time information-sharing associated with that. So, in that environment we’ve really worked hard to…there’s this concept in privacy called “privacy by design.” That you can, if you find, if you’re working on a project and you’re thinking about privacy at the beginning you can design the whole project to protect privacy. In this case, that’s what we’ve been able to do. These really great folks from privacy, and then some our lawyers helping them, the way that protocol where the machines talk back and forth to one another, it has certain fields that the computers can, ah, can enter and they don’t even allow fields where you can put in personally identifiable information. You, you can’t even plug it in. I’ve overstated that just slightly. There are actually a couple of fields and those we, we know and their flagged and so we look at them closely. But anyway, you can do privacy by design so the information is being shared in a way that proprietary and personal information doesn’t even get into the system.
Host: So it’s a massive situation that you’re dealing with. I didn’t know that until just this week when you, you played an instrumental role in a conference that DHS hosted. One of the statistics that fell out of the ceiling tile to me was, what was it, twenty-five years ago, ninety, ninety eight percent of the information shared in our culture was analog, was written down on a piece of paper, typed. Ah, in twenty-five years we’ve translated that to digital. We’re almost a completely digital…
Guest: It’s un, it’s unbelievable. I was looking at some other statistics this week similar. We, ah, a new report has come out that says that there are now more mobile devices in the world than there are human beings. Seven point two billion. And they expect that with the internet of things where your toaster and your car and everything else are going to be connected to the internet, they think that over the next, you know, five to ten years, that’s going to go to fifty billion devices now connected to the internet. We’re…this is a whole new world.
Host: How are we, you and I and the United States Government going to really have an impact on protecting that data that’s translating?
Guest: The na, well, you know, the bad thing is, in terms of cyber security, we’ve had a bad few years. You know, for instan…a number of years, ah, we have all, ah, enjoyed the benefits of being connected. The last couple of years have started to catch up to us because that…we never built security into that. It wasn’t designed for that way. The whole system was designed for professors to share papers back and forth, with one another. So now we’ve used a whole other, a lot of other context and we’ve benefitted from it. The last few years we’re starting to see some of the issues associated with it. I think that’s…to go from seven point two billion to fifty billion is a whole, I mean it’s a massive revolution. But at least I think people are starting to think about security now as they are thinking about. But, you know, two, three four years ago you wouldn’t have had that, that factor in peoples’ minds. Now it is so maybe we have a fighting chance.
Host: The efficiencies are obvious. The economy is…I’ve seen statistics. I’ve seen different articles of what, how, more much more efficient the American economy is based on the fact that we’ve digi, digitized information. So, it’s not going away. We’re not going to slow down. We’re going to have to grapple with this issue. What, what role do you see NPPD playing in that process?
Guest: Well, the Congress has, ah, given us a central role, I mean, by statute now our cyber operations center is the portal through which the private sector is to communicate with the government on cyber incidents and, and, and vice versa. It’s, it’s, its, ah, you know, an exclusive portal so our, so we operate this information exchange, this hub, and it’s the place through which the private sector is going to communicate with the government. Now, the, there will be communications with, you know, a particular company has a great relationship with their local FBI office or the local Secret Service office. They’ll keep that and that’s great. But in terms of like machine-to-machine sharing and large scale sharing of cyber information that’s coming through this portal that, ah, has been given to the Department of Homeland Security. So we know, I mean, that’s great to have this opportunity. With opportunity comes the requirement, the responsibility to perform. And that’s what we’re really focused on now. For the last few years we’ve been focused on trying to get the right lanes in the road established by the Congress. They’ve now set up the structures. The next few years everybody’s got to be about performance. It’s, the, were not, we don’t need to go back to Congress a lot on changing structures around. The structures are in a pretty good place now, both for the private sector and for us. We need to perform now and everyone’s aware of that.
Host: Something else I learned this week was that if an organization, a private entity, is breeched in a legal fashion, that they don’t want to report that. And then it occurred to me, well yeah, they don’t want to tell their customers that they’ve had problems. That, that obviously has to have an impact on what you are trying to do here in NPPD. We, we like to know that those events are so that we can pursue them and figure out what’s going with them. How do you encourage companies who, who it’s in their interest to conceal these data breeches, and we know that they occur, how do you encourage them to bring that information forward so that you can pursue?
Guest: Well, it is a voluntary environment. The, that Congress has decided we’re not going to regulate this world. So, it’s a voluntary environment. It’s all about incentives. It’s been in the last, ah, major piece of legislation in December, we’re created us as the central portal. It took away some of the disincentives. It said that if you share with the government you get liability protection. You…so that’s mentioned in a, ah, a lawsuit later on you get liability protection with regard to that sharing. It’s very limited but then you get liability protection. If you share with us it’s not going to be accessed through FOIA or any state sunshine law. If you share with us you still get your privileges: attorney-client privileges and other things. Anti-trust. It’s not an anti-trust issue. So they dealt with six or seven of these. Those are, ah, dealing with the reasons why you might not share but they are not necessarily incentives. So, there’re not grants. “If you share we’ll give you a thousand dollars,” every time you share something, There’s not grants like that. And there’s not, ah, a regulatory environment like that, that you’re required to share with us. Now, many industries are regulated, energy, banks. But, ah, so, they are required to share with their regulators. This is outside that, that process. This is for everybody’s network defense. Good for the good of that particular comp, company and also for the good of everybody else. And that’s the whole game, really, right now, John. How to figure out how to get everybody…your exact question. How to you get companies to want to participate.
Host: That’s been in place since December you said?
Host: It’s probably too soon to tell if it’s had an impact?
Host: Or having, have you been able to determine?
Guest: Well, I mean, there are some, ah, metrics in terms of how many companies, for example, are signing up for this new machine-to-machine sharing program. And, and some other metrics like that, that mesh...But it is really early. I mean, we’re in the top of the first inning in this, in this game. We know it’s having a lot of impact just from the, ah, conversation. Companies, I mean big companies, and CEOs and general counsels are knocking on our door all the time. “Tell me about this. Help me understand this.” So, a lot of discussion being generated. I mean, I actually could spend one hundred percent of my time just on outreach to the legal community on these issues. Now, I can’t, obviously, I’d,,, All the other work we’ve got to do. But that’s, that’s how much interest has been generated.
Host: Now I want to switch topics just a little bit, or…
Guest: Can I add something before you do?
Host: Sure, yes.
Guest: I, ah, one of the th…when you talk about the legal services we provide, I didn’t even mention one massive part of our organization of our legal responsibilities and its in…we have one chem…ah, regulatory program within NPPD, and it’s in regulations of, ah, of chemicals, at, um, chemical plants. And so, we have a team of lawyers of course, regulatory programs you need to have lawyers. And so we have a team of lawyers, really, really good lawyers, who run a regulatory program and now they’re beginning to move into enforcement. So, they’re going to be doing administrative litigation associated with companies managing the holdings of chemical that, ah, that they have. So, it’s a really interested and, it, it could be a hundred percent, again, of, of my job just understanding and dealing with in dealing with and helping work through that. So, it’s a very interesting portfolio. And, that’s one I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to miss is the regulatory enforcement aspect.
Host: So, we spoke about a month ago and, I met the Privacy Officer for DHS, Ms. Newman.
Guest: Yes, Karen Newman. Yeah.
Host: Ah, earlier this week and we chatted a little bit about something you and I chatted about a month ago and that was, how is this area of the law growing, in which direction is it growing in, and I think the question I asked you is how in the private sector are people monetizing. And you gave me a great answer then but it was clear from my conversation with you as well as with Ms. Newman that this is, perhaps, the, the fastest growing area of the legal profession itself.
Guest: Well, I, I do, I think so…You know, just yesterday I was looking at Fortune magazine. I don’t have a subscription. I am not that, you know, highbrow type of person but I was actually standing by the microwave microwaving something. Somebody had left a copy there. Am I being too honest?
Host: You’re, you’re a government servant. We can’t afford these high, these, these, these kinds of subscriptions…
Guest: ….yeah, well o.k…there you go.
Host: …but when we find them we, we take advantage.
Guest: Exactly. So, my, ah, food was cooking so I flip through the, ah….First page of Fortune magazine was an editorial they wrote about a conference that they had just held. They convened all the top CEOs and they talked about the future of American industry over the next ten years. Four major conclusions. Point number one, we are all technology companies now. And they pointed out how companies that run lawn mowers and things like that, are half their business now is data. Somebody, a friend of mine, is the privacy office at an apparel company. An apparel company? She said “we’re all about fit bits and all that stuff, and the, you know, wearables.” She said that’s more than half the company now, not just producing tee shirts. Anyway, we’re all technology companies. I mean, the, the economy is totaling changing and the legal profession has got to totally change as well but we’re lagging the, as a profession. We’re trying to figure out what services to provide here. Ah, but, ah, that’s where things are going, I think.
Host: You’ve had a varied career yourself. I’ve known you a long time.
Host: I was trying to figure out when we first met. I’m thinking it was probably about 2003, believe it or not.
Guest: Yeah, probably, yeah.
Host: And we have known each other for a long time although we’ve gone spates of time without having any contact because we hadn’t run in the same circle. But I’m always been fascinated by your career. Can I ask you a couple of questions about how you got…
Host: How did you get drawn to this particular field?
Guest: Well, I ask myself that question as well, ha, ha. I, the, the reason it happened is because I was here at Homeland Security at the beginning. That’s how you and I know each other. And I was the head of the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. So, I have a civil rights and civil liberties background. And I did that for Ridge and Chertoff and a few weeks of Napolitano. And then I left and went to the National Counterterrorism Center. Not to practice law but to be involved in some counterterrorism issues. Ah, I, I, I helped lead the, ah, preventative side of counterterrorism. How do we encourage people not to be drawn into these terrorism movements? How do avoid the radicalization. I…they asked me to do it because I had a lot of experience working with Muslim communities in the United States and Europe through my civil rights work that I had done here. So, that’s how I ended up at the National Counterterrorism Center. And I did that for four, five years and one day the phone rang and it was Joe Maher, who is our Deputy General Counsel, and I’ve known well being at DHS all this time. And he said I think there’s a job you might be interested in applying for and he described this job. And I said “well, Joe, I just, I don’t have a lot of background in the kind of technology issue we’d talk about so I don’t think I’d be a good fit for you.” I went home that night and told my wife about the conversation, and she said, we’s, we’re so lucky to have good wives, she said “you knucklehead. A person who you highly respect has called and said to you ‘you should think about this job opening.’ You should think about this job opening.” And, so, I, she always gives good advice, and I thought, yes, I do highly respect Joe. He’s one of the most pre, people I respect most in the world. If he thought I might have something to contribute I should think about that a little bit. And, so, I did. And I think the reason why they brought me in is because I do have a civil rights background and because that is so critical to these technology issues, it’s a good fit. So, that’s how I got here.
Host: You were away from DHS for a just a little bit, four or five years you say.
Host: That’s was not, ah, what we call a 905 job, an attorney-advisor job.
Host: So, you’ve found I, I’m going, I’m going to answer the question for you. I’m going to ask you the question instead. Did you find that leaving the 905 series benefitted you in your career?
Host: How so?
Guest: Well, for those years I was the consumer of legal services and, ah, when I was, at ah, the National Counterterrorism Center we had some great attorneys. But I also saw, ah, in some of the projects we were working on where we had very poor legal advice being given in other agencies who really bogged down, ah, some critical, um, initiatives the government had to have. As, again, at NCTC we were blessed actually, a couple of some really good lawyers come from DHS who had come over. And I think maybe here we have the mindset of, um, you need to give good legal advice with rigor and we need to help figure out how do we get where the client is trying to go if we can. And that’s the attitude I think you need to have and certainly the attitude our Legal Division has.
Host: You know that I have a program called the Leadership Development Program. In fact, you’re going to participate in it soon, ah, with, with me.
Host: Ah, so, one of the questions that comes up from our participants…they’re generally younger attorneys who have been promoted into a leadership or a supervisory position…I think we all lead at different times in our own ways…but I, the question often comes, often times comes up about different experiences in developing their careers. And as you and I…we’re of similar age and of similar tract…I have also served in a similar capacity outside of the 905 series and thought that added value…I struggle sometimes to communicate to them that there is a bigger world than just being a lawyer, though it’s very important, a lawyer for the United States Government. How do you communicate that to younger folks I see you working with up and down this hallway here?
Guest: I’m, I’m, I’m of two minds on that. One is, it’s really good for our lawyers to, to take a non-905 position for six months or something. See what’s like. We’ve really….Joe has really encouraged us to encourage that. Let people, ah, move. Move around in their careers. See different things. It makes them better lawyers. I’m glad he’s really pushed us in that regard. So, we, we’ve had people in our division a number of times now in, in policy roles. Now, here’s the other side. The problem is that, our lawyers…we as lawyers, are often more educated. We’ve gone to school longer in more rigorous settings. We’re better writers. We’re more analytical thinkers than people and our clients, ah, tend to be. They tend to call on us. They see…”hey, you know, Mary in your group. Can she come over and do this? She’s a better writer than anybody. I need somebody that’s a great writer and she sees issues in different way than anybody else.” So, the problem that I’m see is we could get sucked into that all the time. So, one thing I’m, I do tell people is…if you can take a non-905 position for a while, that’s great. The other side is, don’t get out of the 905 world for very long. Practicing law is a discipline, it’s a profession, it’s a trade. And you’ve got to stay in it, in part, because, you know, if I, if I’m interviewing somebody and they’ve been out of the profession for five years like, like I was, why am I going to hire them? Where, where your skill, where you’re, you’re too rusty. I’ve got other people who I can, who I can take. So, you want…So, there’s a balance to it, I think. It’s great to have those other experiences. But don’t stay out of law too long. It’s a really demanding profession in and of yourself.
Host: Did you find that your legal skills eroded while you were away from the practice.
Guest: You know what is really funny about that, John, is I what, what was one of my main hesitations. Could I still do it? Could I still ride this bike? And, ah, when I was…a big change and I came back. I left. I came here. And I think the second or third night I came home from work. My wife said to me “you look happy, your posture looks great.” And I said to her “you know, I have to tell you. I just feel I’m in the right place.” And I said, you know, I’ve been trained to do this since I’m twenty-two years old and I’m back with my people. And this, so this type of thinking…we’ve been taught in this way for an awfully long time. And I did it because I loved it. I think most of us do love it. We love the way we think. The way we, ah, the rigor that we bring. The analytic. So, ah, I think unfortunately, maybe law’s a lifetime bug that has caught you. That’s been, that’s been my experience.
Host: Well, well, good for you, and good for me.
Host: I like hanging around and stopping by and seeing you from time to time. Let me ask you a couple of questions before I wrap up.
Host: As you know about the leadership program. Why it’s near and dear to my heart. You have a, an impressive mission here. An important mission. I’m expecting that, given our status and our career, we can do this a while longer.
Host: But we’re going to hand these things off to other people. It’s just how it works. You and I both know that.
Host: What are you looking for in those people that you’re going to hand this very important mission off to down the road?
Guest: I think, ah, I can answer that because we’re doing a lot of hiring and then I also sit on a lot of hiring panels. You know, we think about this at NPPD because we are growing our work force. I think we’re, we need people of breadth of experience. People who’ve done different things. Have had different roles in life. Maybe somebody’s, ah, you know, been in the Army a few years. They’ve experienced some things, that, you know, I certainly haven’t. Maybe somebody’s been a litigator, but also, um, you know, ah, an in-house counsel at a firm. Somebody’s done some procurement law, some ethics law, some, you know, FOIA law. In other words, like, disciplines that aren’t’, don’t necessarily fit, ah, together, but they have breadth of experience. So, I think as, in the earlier part of one’s career, one should look to grab as many skills you can possibly get. You don’t really know how you might use them later. But, the, the game, I think, in the early part of your career is to just be a really, really well-rounded good lawyer. And then there will be great places that, that will be leveraged when you are forty, and forty-five and fifty and sixty years old.
Host: And I think that the two of us, to support that point, we’re not from the generation that is accused of being…jumping from job to job to job.
Host: Yet, you and I have both had different jobs in our own careers. And if the younger generation…I have a daughter who’s twenty-two… She’s very interested in jobs for three or four years…and how that will play out, play itself out for her…as that becomes a greater point of satisfaction for generations, I think your point is well taken. And secondly, I’m very glad I asked you to teach that Diversity class in our Leadership Development Program because that’s exactly what we talk about, as you know. Is that…assembling a group with those different skills and viewpoints. And we’ve got statistical evidence that shows how much stronger organizations are when they do that.
Guest: Can I say something about that, too?
Guest: So I think the world is change…this is my opinion. The world is changing because of technology. We’ve already talked about that. I think the world is changing…our world is changing because of these diversity issues: racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, but experiential diversity as well. It’s hard. Things have changed. The, the growth of, you know, the amount of immigration in our country. You know, millions more people than we had before. You know, the, there’s a new, a survey that said something like seventy percent of African-American teenagers have dated somebody outside their race. Sixty percent of Asians have dated somebody outside, Asian teenagers have dated somebody outside their race. Similar numbers of white high school students have dated somebody outside their race. Our families are going to be different going forward. And this is all good but we got to get our arms around it as professionals. And I think as managers, we’re going to have people of varied, of different backgrounds than we have that are working for us, but different perspectives. And we’ve got to learn how that is a really great value that they’ve just brought to us but you’ve got to work it. You’ve got to ma, understand it and encourage them and make them feel part of it and make all of us feel part of it. We’re coming from such different…I think we have more diversity in all those different areas than we used to have and it’s a new skill set, I think, we’re going to need to have.
Host: And I agree with you. I think there are several factors that are driving those things. But technology is certainly one of them. Technology brings our world closer. Ah, I, when I was a child I couldn’t image things like the cell phones that you and I walk around with today. They were props for various…
Host: …science fiction shows that, but they are there, they’re here and we are having communications and we’re able, we’re able to peak into different worlds we never entered. And, of course, the rest of the world is, too. That all brings us a little bit closer.
Guest: Well, technology …another thing is, like, you know, think of the number of, ah, men and women who’ve been serving overseas in the last ten years who’ve been wounded who in years ago would have died from their injuries. And now are very healthy, very effective people but they may be in a wheelchair or they may need some other accommodation in order to work in the work place. We’re…because of the Americans with Disabilities Act and because of our wars, and technology, the advance of technology, I think we’re going to see more and more people. We definitely are already seeing and going to see more and more people in our work places that have different physical challenges than maybe we’ve seen in the past. And it’s awesome. We just have to, as professionals, get ahead of it and understand how to make all of this work for all of us.
Guest: Well, you’re on the front line with some of those things. Good luck with all those issues that confront you. I am, will not say I’m sleeping easy after hearing about all those phishing expeditions, etcetera, that I, ah learned about this week spending some time with you and some others. It is a massive mission that you have and, ah, I hope that, you are constantly successful. Of course, we, people only know us by our failures, right?
Host: That’s got to be frustrating as well. Is there anything else?
Guest: Ah, I just think, you know, you just said kind of a pessimistic concern for the future. I’m pretty optimistic, really. I think some of the trends we just talked about, about how our culture is changing are incredibly positive. And if we just get our arms around some of these revolutions that we’re seeing in our world, we’ve got a pretty good next hundred years or so that we’re looking at. But we do have to fa, get our arms around these things. We have to really focus, I think, on training our law students about technology and all of us as lawyers about technology and we’ve all got to get our arms around the, all the diversity issues we’ve been talking about. So, I don’t know. I’m pretty optimistic.
Host: What’s clear to me is I was ignorant to the massive scale of the, ah su, superstructure that’s out there and now, why I am pessimistic, is I know I have got to be better at my own things.
Host: That a…Let me ask you one last personal question…
Host: …before I let you go, Do you online bank?
Host: I do to and I don’t know if I should anymore. I will continue to do so. I, I, I jest but it was one of those things that came up in our conversations. It is an example of how, ah, technology has made all of our lives that much more efficient. I don’t know when the last time I was actually physically inside of a bank.
Guest: Absolutely. That’s right. There’s a , there are a lot of benefits to being connected and I do…I, I, I would encourage people to go ahead and do online banking. The financial institutions are in front of these issues and they are really working them super hard. There are other things about the, the technology world that we live in. Social media and stuff probably need to be care, be more careful about. I worry more about, like the social impacts of carrying an iphone around for like for kids, you know. And their ability to read. Their ability to spell. Their attention span. How many, how many kids are going to sit down and read, you know, a 500 page novel anymore? And, and that’s important. And I’m not sure we know all the social aspects of technology and what it, what it’s bringing to us.
Host: There’s definitely going to be some of those side issues that our society always seems to, to deal with.
Guest: We have such interesting conversations, John.
Host: We do, don’t we?
Host: Unfortunately, I think I have to bring this one to a close. Dan, thank you for joining me today, spending a little time. Ah, this has been John Besselman with the Office of General Counsel’s podcast series. Join us some other time for another one of these interesting conversations. Dan, thank you so much.
Guest: Thank you.
Host: I appreciate it.