A Royal Signals soldier who has nurtured fellow soldiers' cyberspace knowledge has received a national award for excellence in engineering.
Corporal Pa Malick Adams who serves in 16 Signal Regiment was named Royal Engineer of the Year in recognition of his work by the Worshipful Company of Engineers.
The Information Service Engineer’s passion for Cyber and his desire to help develop fellow soldiers cyberspace knowledge and skills led him to create a facility where both novices and experts can safely experiment with offensive and defensive cyber scenarios.
His interest in information technology began at an early age when he was growing up in Gambia.
“My Uncle gave me a computer and I wanted to understand how it worked so I took it apart and put it back together – it became my hobby,” said Corporal Adams.
“I joined the Army at 18, initially serving in the Royal Artillery before moving across to the Royal Signals.”
Corporal Adams, who has a first-class Honours Degree in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and a Master's Degree in Cyber Security, identified a suitable building for the Cyber Development Suite and sourced the equipment, hardware and software, all without any external funding and in his own time.
His citation describes him as an ambassador for cyber and an advocate for the practical application of academic study. It states he truly represents what all engineers should aspire to be. His passion and determination have created a platform where cyber novices can excel.
Once the suite was established, he set up the Regimental Weekly Cyber Club. It has over 40 members from a wide range of ranks and trades and continues to grow.
“Cyber security is not the same as our daytime role, but from talking to people in the Regiment I knew there was an interest and I realised I could use my Masters in Cyber Security to help develop individuals’ cyberspace knowledge and skills,” said Corporal Adams.
16 Signal Regiment is based at Beacon Barracks in Stafford and is armed with Falcon, a system that can securely share voice, data and video communications during operations.
The Cyber Security Club’s weekly meetings have allowed the engineers to practice safeguarding the Army’s communications networks and fending off simulated virtual cybercriminals.
In the last two years, club members have put their cyberspace skills to the test at Defence Cyber Marvel, an event where the UK military, international and civilian teams compete to protect their networks against antagonists.
This year, the Regimental team achieved an impressive 5th place out of 36 teams in spite of most of the cyber-experienced soldiers being deployed on military operations. Cpl Adams went on to represent the Army at the inter-service cyber competition.
Lieutenant Colonel Robin Foster, the Regiment’s Commanding Officer said: “The award is a testament to Corporal Adams’ hard work and is very well-deserved. The whole Regiment is extremely proud of him."
“He is an outstanding cyber specialist who has a wealth of knowledge to share. The Cyber Development Facility he has created is a platform where cyber novices can excel and provides a safe environment for experimentation.”
The Royal Engineer of the Year accolade is awarded to any soldier serving in the Royal Engineers, Royal Corps of Signals and The Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who has a professional engineering registration and has best applied professional engineering judgment or technical innovation to contribute to the maintenance of military capability or effectiveness.