NICOLE CAMARILLO WAS touring the Army base at Fort Meade, Maryland, in early 2017 when a young captain—I’ll call him Matt, due to the sensitivity of his position—crossed her path.
I’ve got to talk to that kid, Camarillo remembers thinking. Just weeks before, she’d seen Matt deliver a presentation on a tool he was developing to counter enemy drone strikes in the Middle East. The technology, he explained, was being developed on a “shoestring budget.”
That caught Camarillo’s attention. As executive director of talent strategy at the US Army Cyber Command, a relatively new branch of the Army, Camarillo’s job is to persuade top employees in Silicon Valley that they should sacrifice their stock options and six-figure salaries and apply their technological know-how in the Army instead. The idea that someone with Matt’s skills was scrounging to develop tools that could mean life or death for soldiers hardly boded well for her program.