The Command Cyber Readiness Inspection kicked off at 0800 on Monday morning September 19th. The months of preparing had come to an end but the lessons to be learned were far from over.
We got a great start on Monday, so I felt it was safe to remind the boss I wanted the Marines to get some time off for all of their hard work and efforts preparing for the CCRI. His answer remained what it’d been the last couple of weeks – “We’ll see what the score is. There’s still a long way to go.” His answer then, like it had before, infuriated me.
I didn’t care about the score. I wanted him to recognize how much work they had put into this inspection. The countless extra hours, effort and extra miles. I wanted him to recognize the Marines and Civilians went above expectations to ensure we would be successful. I wanted him to stop thinking about himself and recognize his staff. I went home yet again upset and disappointed.
I woke the next morning and one of my first thoughts reflected back on how I simply wasn’t getting through to the boss. I began my morning prayer and soon received a message from the Holy Spirit. I was being stubborn. I’m nowhere near as stubborn as I used to be, but I hadn’t realized my stubbornness had in fact struck again. I wanted the boss to see things my way. I wanted him to change, I wanted him get it. However, Holy Spirit told me “Stop being stubborn. Pray for the score. He’s focus on the score, so pray for God to deliver.”
The Holy Spirit lives in us to assist us in many ways – one major area where He assist is in showing us what to pray for. Romans 8:26 “26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
I began to pray for a score that would validate the Marines and Civilians for all of their hard work. A score that would ensure they got was they deserved for all of their efforts. My faith was put to the test when later that day I was briefed about 100’s of CAT IIs on the networks (SIPR and NIPR). I was in shock because there’s no way we had left that many enumerated CAT IIs on the network. I told all the Marines to stand by after the inspector’s hotwash that afternoon because I would be having one of my own.
At the hotwash, more details were uncovered about those CAT IIs and we began to build our case for the inspector. You see, those CAT IIs were actually CAT IV Info findings on Retina and didn’t even appear on the ACAS scans. Additionally, we had already captured documentations on the very issue that created these CAT IIs. On Wednesday morning, we pleaded our case with the inspector, who then said best he could do was to take it to the lead inspector for a decision.
As he walked out of the office to go explain the situation, I said a prayer. I had to run out of the office for a while so by the time I returned, everyone was coming by to ask me if I’d heard. We had won our case! I was so happy. I was so proud we had all pulled together to “fight” this issue. It once more proved what an incredible team we all were.
By Wednesday, things were looking quite good. I was at peace. I didn’t expect any bad surprises. I knew God had us in his capable hands. It made me realize that while I trusted God to ensure all things worked together for my good; I didn’t trust I could intercede on behalf of others. I just didn’t know if He would give me what I wanted for others. I have prayed for others before and some prayers have been answered but this seemed different. It involved so many people and I didn’t know if He wanted for them what I wanted for them. Of course once I received the message from the Holy Spirit it made it much easier to have faith He wanted to deliver what I wanted for everyone…well, almost everyone.
The score would turn out to be the highest Phase III score in the Marine Corps this year. The first 90 (NIPR) the inspectors had seen in Phase III. We had in fact Rocked It!! God delivered the right conditions for our efforts to shine and for all of us to feel super happy and proud of ourselves.
The boss got what he wanted. A score that allows him to show off. He didn’t bat an eye when he accepted the praises at the outbrief from the Deputy Commander who recognized his leadership as being key to doing so well. Many around the table awaited for him to give the credit where the credit was due and cringed when he didn’t. I was disappointed and upset not because I wanted the credit, but because I wanted the opportunity to pass it on to Marines and Civilians around the table and room. He robbed me of that but what I needed wasn’t from him or the Deputy Commander.
What I needed came later that evening from two of the Marines I worked with the closest. I wanted to know I made a difference for the Marines. Had an impact on them. They validated me when they told me I pushed them to be better, I motivated them to keep going and they would never forget what they came to realize they were capable of achieving thanks to me. I assumed I had made a difference but hearing it made my heart jump with joy.
It’s the following Monday now and I’m writing this post from the beach in Elounda, on Crete Island, Greece. The Marines are back to work…moving on to the new and latest issue and fire. They’ll each be taking their 96s over the next few weeks and many are getting ready to PCS. I won’t forget what I was blessed to share with all of those Marines and Civilians and how much they and the Lord taught me in the process.