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I Am NASA Stennis: Bonita Oliver

Bonita Oliver
As chief information security officer at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, Bonita Oliver has worked in a variety of roles during the past decade-plus.
NASA/Danny Nowlin

Bonita Oliver realized computers were becoming more and more a part of daily life as a young girl in Macon, Mississippi. The ever-changing technology and her interest in wanting to know how things operated is what put her on the path to working at Stennis Space Center.

Oliver has turned that curiosity into a 21-year career at Stennis, including the past 12 years coming in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).

As Stennis Chief Information Security Officer, Oliver helps protect NASA data through its various computer networks. Her primary duty is overseeing cybersecurity and privacy services at Stennis. This includes ensuring systems on the Stennis network are compliant with federal guidelines.

The Biloxi, Mississippi, resident also played a critical role with the inception of an agencywide securities contract NASA entered into this summer.

Oliver has served as chairperson the past two years for the Cybersecurity and Privacy Enterprise Solutions and Services (CyPrESS) Requirements Development Team and Source Evaluation Board (SEB).

The CyPrESS contract, the first enterprise cybersecurity and privacy services contract for NASA’s OCIO, has a total value of $622.5 million, with a potential savings of $46 million. It makes the cybersecurity and privacy work agencywide more efficient, consolidating the various center and enterprise information technology contracts.

One aspect of Oliver’s job with NASA that she said she enjoys is building relationships and working with people from different backgrounds. Oliver became chairperson of the SEB as the COVID-19 pandemic started, which led to meetings going virtual.

In this new role and working with others throughout NASA, Oliver turned the challenge of not having in-person meetings into an opportunity to learn new skills in building relationships with others to get the job done.

“When we first met virtually, I asked each person to tell something about themselves that they do outside of work, so we could start making those connections and start being comfortable to talk,” she said. “That was important. …I wanted them to express whatever they had on their mind without fear.”

This collaboration throughout NASA has helped Oliver and the OCIO answer any challenge that may come their way.

Information Technology is constantly changing. That means we are constantly learning.

bonita oliver

bonita oliver

Chief Information Security Officer

“Information Technology is constantly changing,” she said. “That means we are constantly learning.”

For information about Stennis Space Center, visit Stennis Space Center.