Security's Most Influential People in Security 2019 - JT Mendoza
Deputy Director, AF Insider Threat Hub, U.S. Air Force
Over the past 22 years, JT Mendoza has consistently excelled in dynamic and complex security positions of progressive responsibility.
In his current position, Mendoza is Deputy Director of the Air Force (AF) Insider Threat Hub. He is responsible for day-to day strategy, outreach and integration of the Air Force’s effort to prevent, detect and identify threats to national security and more than 450,000 Air Force personnel, sensitive/classified missions, information and facilities.
He has positively impacted the security, counterintelligence and insider threat programs within the Defense Security Service (DSS), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the U.S. Air Force.
He led the effort to revamp large portions of DIA’s overarching security programs, which resulted in support to two major FBI espionage investigations and the successful prosecution of two former DIA officers who engaged in espionage against the U.S. for China.
“The fight continues today for all us, especially as we continue to experience mass shootings, information leaks/compromises and the theft of proprietary information,” he says. “While I’m no longer at DIA, I’m excited to be helping another organization learn and evolve their insider threat program, and I definitely appreciate the relationships I’ve made over the past 22 years.”
In a short period, he has recast the AF’s InT program and set the strategic framework for the program to reach full operating capability before any of the other military services. The program is leading the DoD in reporting of InT events and has matured significantly in the past 12 months, moving from an interim hub to a permanent hub, meeting all but one Presidential Minimum Standard.
In his community he has led programs to help feed underprivileged and low-income families in the Northern Virginia and San Antonio, Texas communities.
“The best career advice I can provide is to never forget your role within your security specialty,” he says. “We all play a part within a larger effort and not one role is more important than another. As you provide a service to protect your organizations from different threats, remain focused on providing decision makers with timely and accurate information. Never compromise your character, focus on your mission and only look back to help someone else up. In this line of work, you will make mistakes and experience good and bad days. Do not ever think what you know is enough. It is critical to stay knowledgeable in your craft so you can provide your leaders the information needed to make the best risk decision for your organization.”