The Future of Work is Leaving National Security Behind

Zachery Tyson Brown
9 min readApr 29, 2021

Agencies Must Adapt, or Risk Losing the Future

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

It’s often said that government work isn’t glamorous. But pre-pandemic government work in the national security realm was at least one step beyond. Back in the before times, tens of thousands of national security employees — both civil servants and their much more numerous contractor counterparts — would arrive each and every morning to nondescript office buildings scattered across the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. Many of these workers had to first endure a maddening commute, sometimes lasting an hour or more, and could look forward to an even more maddening time getting home. After searching for a parking spot — heaven help anyone who arrived after 8 am — and making their way through security turnstiles by swiping or scanning various multicolored badges hanging from lanyards around their necks, these intrepid employees would have eventually shuffled into their appointed space — whether a drab cubicle, perhaps artfully appointed with photos of loved ones or with a favorite Dilbert cartoon tacked to the wall; an open bay; or, if they were lucky or relatively senior, an even drabber office outfitted with the type of lowest-bid furniture one might describe as, “mid-century mediocre.” Wherever they sat, they would then log on to several outdated computers, all of which were running…