Denise Hurt works from her office outside of Fort Meade, Maryland, the home base for her all-women security team. The team, part of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Real Property Services Field Office (RSFO), handles high-level, unique security assignments for high-profile Department of Defense (DOD) agencies. In fact, their work is so specialized that RSFO is one of the only full-service project management shops in the federal government able to provide fully cleared personnel at the Top-Secret level and above.
In her role as a special security officer, Hurt is responsible for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) oversight for both RSFO and the greater USACE Baltimore District. Hurt ensures those who handle SCI meet the necessary RSFO personnel security standards and DOD and NSA security guidelines, as well as maintain accreditation to work within the SCI facility, or SCIF.
This wide-ranging responsibility means not only ensuring employees have the appropriate clearance to work in a SCIF but also working with other facility security officers to support USACE partners in the intelligence community. RSFO officers handle both personnel and industrial-level management, working on physical, information and communication security. This includes leasing and facilities management for partners to ensure safekeeping of classified information.
Despite a nearly 75/25 male-to-female ratio across the security field, Hurt looks at her team’s all-women makeup with pride — perhaps even more so in the face of this data.
Hurt’s unique team includes Karen McMullen and Racquel Cook, a self-titled “power puff girls” trio.
“We collaborate and share ideas to help make the security program better,” she says. “We all have different specialties, and it works.”
Hurt brings a full resume of experiences to her team from across the DOD security portfolio. She worked as a contract background investigator in Missouri; as a G-2 Personnel Security Manager for the Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and as an installation security manager for Installation Management Command at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Her civilian career with USACE began in the New Orleans District, which included roles in Personnel Security and as antiterrorism officer and security manager.
“I love that the field is so broad that I am able to work in a wide variety of security disciplines,” she says, as evidenced by her immense background.
She would “highly encourage” women to join her in the security field, adding, “The job opportunities in the National Capital region are rewarding and endless.”