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Focus on FedRAMP

Profiles in Cybersecurity - Steve Hunt, NASA

In June 2018, FedRAMP launched the inaugural FedRAMP 5 Awards, recognizing the members of the FedRAMP community that have contributed to the program’s success over the years. To honor their contributions, FedRAMP is spotlighting some of the winners for their impact on the program.

Steve Hunt, IT Governance Lead of NASA’s Enterprise Managed Cloud Computing office, has championed FedRAMP since its 2012 inception and was involved in the early stages of the program. Steve’s guidance was integral to the initial shaping of FedRAMP’s baselines and ATO-reuse process and has continued to support the development and evolution of FedRAMP’s Continuous Monitoring processes. In turn, FedRAMP has become inherent to Steve’s efforts to roll out an enterprise assessment and authorization (A&A) framework at NASA, providing a baseline for controls and processes for the Agency to adopt and maintain security against.

In speaking with Steve, he provided insight into how he has been successful working with FedRAMP and moving NASA to the cloud. It all starts with solid footing in the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF), enabling him to best understand the FedRAMP baselines, control requirements, and the concepts that support them. Building on that, Steve has focused on having the right people in NASA’s cloud program, working collaboratively and across team boundaries. In his own words, having the appropriate teams in place has been “critical for success.”

How Cloud Technology Enables NASA

The 2012 Curiosity Rover Mars landing was Steve’s first “Light Bulb Cloud Moment.” Thanks to a custom cloud solution developed in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab that scaled virtual server capacity automatically and in real time, the Curiosity’s landing was able to be video streamed worldwide, including live coverage, without disruption or downtime. Steve shared the following about the event:

“Ames Research Center hosted a Curiosity Rover Mars event the night of the landing with a lot of presentations and fanfare, attended by approximately 5000 people. After the landing, we all waited with anticipation for the first images to come through. And when that first image appeared on the screen over the stage, the crowd broke into a standing ovation with cheers and clapping. It was a truly moving event and one that makes all the hard work we do at NASA the most rewarding and fulfilling job on the planet. The ability to share that moment, across the entire planet, in real time via web sites with live coverage and streaming video, was enabled by intelligent and creative people at NASA, passionate about working at the leading edge of Cloud technology. Being involved with the Cloud Program at that moment in time, was really something to behold, and foreshadowed a new era in Information Technology.”

Since that point, NASA has continued to make use of cloud-based technology solutions including 10 FedRAMP Authorized or In Process products.

FedRAMP is thankful to have a great partner in Steve and we appreciate his hard work in supporting the program and evangelizing the benefits of cloud computing at NASA and across the government. The PMO is honored to have him as a FedRAMP 5 awardee and is looking forward to further engagement with NASA as a partner in the program’s evolution.