Thursday, February 27, 2020

An interview with Ray DICE Man Semko

You might already be aware that I run two podcasts: DoDSecure and Running and Obstacle Race Training. I recently interviewed Ray D*I*C*E Man Semko on my podcast DoDSecure. I hope you are able to get to the podcast as there are many topics covered from security clearances to protecting classified information.

What struck me most was his drive and focus leading him to his branding of D*I*C*E which stands for Defensive Information Countering Everything. This is what he calls the “anchor point” and so much is built around it. He wanted a way for folks to focus on what is important concerning national security. DICE provides more than just a bumper sticker or slogan, but rather a movement that has created more reporting opportunities and has actually led to the capture of a spy.

The DICE concept took a while to develop and catch on. Initially, Ray was scheduled to provide a security awareness briefing and he realized he had to have an anchor or something to build the focus around. At the time, the U.S. Army had a slogan well underway at the time and many may remember Subversion And Espionage Directed Against the Army or SAEDA. This was a hard acronym to remember for many. I remember the difficulty I had applying it as a cold war soldier and whenever asked ended up replying. “Syrup And Eggs Do not Agree (SAEDA)”.

Now Ray had an opportunity to develop something original and jumped at the chance after being commissioned by his employer to do so. “So this is my chance to be original, to think outside the box. And I'm thinking, OK, what am I going to do and this is where anchoring entered my mind,” he says. “If you are prepared for that moment, you don't know what that moment's going to be. You don't know what it what is going to entail, but if you are as prepared as you can be by knowing your job by having confidence in yourself to perform your job, all aspects of it, whatever you're called upon to do,” he continued.

It took him 14 years to get to that point. Now he had the anchor point or something to remember. One result of that particular anchor point, D*I*C*E is that a DIA employee felt that they needed to report concerns about Ana Montes, a senior Cuban analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency. She turned out to be a high-level, long-term penetration of the US Intelligence Community by the Cuban intelligence service.

“…it's actually written in the book (sic. True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy). I mean, there have been several people who have reported because people who listen to my briefings and it sticks with them. They see something strange here, suspicious. They reported it to the security people and security people did the right thing and investigated in every aspect.”

Now when people see dice in a game, hanging from a rear view mirror, or at a flea market in Greece, they think of Ray D*I*C*E Man Semko, and for good reason; he created the anchor point.

During the interview, I asked Ray one more question:

“So let me let me pull that thread a little bit because I think that that's a good point. We talked last week and you mentioned that. ‘You know, Jeff, I'm not security, but I'm counterintelligence’, and that was a good point because you know things that security people don't know and all we get our briefings about Walker and Montas and all these other people. But how do you get relevant up to date information? Is that available to security managers?”

Well, that's how we have for this week's episode of DoDSecure. So join our podcast or read our upcoming article where Ray answers the question, “what other resource is are out there that security managers can pull from to give relevant and realistic training?”

Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is the owner of Red Bike Publishing Red Bike Publishing . He regularly consults, presents security training, and recommends export compliance and intellectual property protection countermeasures. He is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. Jeff is an expert in security and has written many security books including: "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook", "ISP Certification-The Industrial Security Professional Exam Manual", and NISPOM/FSO Training".


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