#70 Hess on the Information Environment and Adapting the Military

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The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.

During this episode, MGySgt William Hess discusses a variety of topics related to the information environment. MGySgt Hess is the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Deputy Commandant for Information at the Headquarters of the United States Marine Corps. In this capacity, his opinions influence the way the Marine Corps navigates information and cognitive-related challenges. After he provides his national security assessment, he discusses how Russia’s 2007 cyber attack on Estonia is informing the Marine Corps’ capability build today, as well as talent and educational shifts which are happening within the Marine Corps.

Link to full show notes and resources


Guest Bio: MGySgt William Hess, Senior Enlisted Advisor (SEA), for the Deputy Commandant for Information (DC I) at the Headquarters of the United States Marine Corps. He also holds a PhD in Information Technology with an emphasis in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.


William Hess graduated in 1998 from Widefield High School in Colorado Springs, CO.  He underwent recruit training at 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Mike Company, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA.  Upon graduation from Recruit Training and Marine Combat Training, he was assigned to Camp Johnson, for Basic Supply Clerk Course, 3043 MOS.

In December of 1998, Private First Class Hess was assigned to 3rd Supply Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, Okinawa Japan.  Serving as a Fiscal Clerk, Lance Corporal (LCpl) Hess aided in the consolidation of Supply and Maintenance Battalions to create the newly formed 3rd Material Readiness Battalion.

In January of 2000, LCpl Hess was transferred to Marine Air Group-16 (MAG-16), 3rd Marine Air Wing.  Within MAG-16, he served as a Consolidated Memorandum Record (CMR) Clerk.  In June of 2000, LCpl Hess was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (HQHQSQDN), Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, CA to perform the duties of a Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival.  During his time at the MCAS Miramar Training Tank, he was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Corporal (Cpl).

In May of 2002, Cpl Hess received a lateral move to the 4066 MOS, and was promoted to the Rank of Sergeant (Sgt).  Upon completion of the Entry Level Small Systems Computer Specialist Course he was assigned as the NCOIC of the Field Response Team, HQHQSQDN, MCAS Miramar, CA.

In July of 2005, Sgt Hess was assigned to 2nd Marine Division and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).  Upon returning from deployment, he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt).  After returning to 2nd Marine Division he was assigned as the Data Plans Chief for II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Forward in support of OIF.  In June of 2008, SSgt Hess transferred to 7th Communications Battalion and was assigned as the Data Chief for the 31st MEU.

In June of 2009, SSgt Hess transferred to Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Center, now the Marine Corps Cyber Operations Group, where he served as the Incident Manager for the Marine Corps.  During this assignment, he was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) and received a lateral move to the Information Assurance Technician MOS (0689).

In June of 2011, GySgt was assigned to 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA.  From February to August of 2012, he was deployed with 1st Marine Division Forward in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  In July of 2013, GySgt Hess was selected to receive the Information Assurance Scholarship Program to attend the Naval Post Graduate School.  While in attendance at the Naval Post Graduate School, he was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (MSgt).

In July of 2015, MSgt Hess was assigned as the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge and Chief Instructor of the Cybersecurity Technician and Managers School House aboard 29 Palms California.  During this assignment, MSgt Hess was responsible for training and certifying over 200 Cybersecurity Technicians, and ~50 Cybersecurity Managers.  MSgt Hess was frocked to the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt) in August of 2017.

In Sept of 2017, MGySgt Hess assumed his post at I MEF initially serving as the Cybersecurity Chief, and then transitioning into the Cyberspace Operations Chief with the advent of the 17xx Occupational Field.  MGySgt Hess then transitioned to the MEF G-3 Fire and Effects Coordination Center (FECC) to assume the role of the Non-Kinetic Fires and Effects Chief, responsible for coordinating Operations Information Environment (OIE) effects into the Targeting Cycle.

MGySgt Hess was selected from the Deputy Commandant of Information (DC I), Information Maneuver Division (IMD), Readiness Branch as the Cyberspace Operations Chief and Branch Chief to assume his current role as the DC I Senior Enlisted Advisor in June of 2021.

MGySgt Hess’s personal accomplishments and decorations include: The Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with four gold stars, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars, a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Information Technology, a Master of Science degree in Cyber Systems and Operations with (6) NSA Certifications, and a PhD in Information Technology with an emphasis in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.

About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.

For more information, please contact us at communications@information-professionals.org.

Or, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.

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