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Distinguished Individual Service Award (DISA)

Tuesday, December 23, 2003   (0 Comments)
Posted by: AITP Headquarters

The DISA is AITP's highest award bestowed upon individuals who have made outstanding contributions through distinguished services in the field of information technology.

The DISA started in 1969 when the first recipient of the award was Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper. Since then, the DISA list of candidates includes some of the more legendary IT figures such as Dr. Paul M. Pair, H. Ross Perot, Bill Gates and Lt. Gen Emmett Paige, Jr.

This year, AITP was very fortunate to have a candidate who is highly qualified through his accomplishments and contributions to the IT profession. James V. Christy II received the DISA at the AITP's annual member meeting, which was part of the national conference held in St. Louis.

Jim Christy, well known for bringing down Markus Hess and the Chaos Club in 1989, was tagged as the original 'cybercop.' It is an honor to have Jim Christy accept the DISA Award. His many accomplishments are listed below.


Supervisory Special Agent (SA) Jim Christy is the Deputy Director/Director of Operations for the Defense Computer Forensics Lab at the Defense Cyber Crime Center. Jim is a computer crime investigator for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. As the Director of Operations for the DCFL, he has four sections with more than 40 computer forensic examiners that support Major Crimes & Safety, Counterintelligence and Counter-terrorism, as well as Intrusions and Information Assurance cases for the Department of Defense. SA Christy has been a computer crime investigator for more than 17 years.

From May 1998 to September 2001 Jim was assigned to the Defense-wide Information Assurance Program, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control Communications and Intelligence (ASDC3I) as the law enforcement and counterintelligence coordinator and infrastructure protection liaison.

SA Christy served as the DoD Representative to the President's Infrastructure Protection Task Force (IPTF) from September 1996 to May 1998. The President signed Executive Order 13010 on July 15, 1996, creating IPTF to protect the nation's critical infrastructure from both physical and cyber attacks.

Prior to the IPTF, Jim was detailed to Senator Sam Nunn's staff on the Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations as a Congressional Fellow from January to August 1996. Senator Nunn specifically requested Jim's assistance for the Subcommittee to prepare for hearings in May through July of 1996, on the vulnerability and the threat to national information infrastructure from cyberspace.

From 1986 to 1998, Jim was the director of Computer Crime Investigations and Information Warfare for AFOSI, and established Computer Forensic Lab, the first computer forensic lab in DoD.

In 1986, Jim obtained some notoriety as the original case agent in the Hanover Hacker case. This case involved a group of German hackers who electronically penetrated DoD computer systems all over the world and sold the information to the Soviet KGB. The case was detailed in the best seller, "The Cuckoo's Egg," by Dr. Cliff Stoll. The Public Broadcast System has also produced a docudrama on this case.

In a murder investigation in 1991, the suspect cut two floppy diskettes into 23 pieces with pinking shears. No agency was able to recover any of the data until Jim and his deputy developed a technique for less then $150. Jim was able to recover 85-95 percent of the data from each piece of diskette. When confronted with the evidence, the suspect confessed, pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. This case was profiled on the "New Detectives" series on the Discovery Channel.

Some of SA Christy's notable firsts in Computer Crime Investigations:

  • 1st civilian computer crime investigator in the U.S. government
  • 1st computer espionage investigation (Hanover Hacker Case) case agent
  • 1st electronic surveillance of a standalone color PC
  • 1st DoD investigator to go undercover on pedophile bulletin boards
  • 1st to distribute wanted poster on the Internet (triple homicide case)
  • 1st to develop forensic technique to recover data from cut-up diskette (homicide investigation)
  • 1st psychological profiling study of computer criminals program (Project Slammer)
  • 1st to create DoD Computer Forensic Lab
  • 1st to create DoD Computer Intrusion Squad
  • 1st computer crime investigator to testify before the U.S. Senate
  • 1st information security survey of private sector by U.S. Senate (authored)
  • 1st to create government, private sector and academia program to provide free education and awareness about the cyber threat to infrastructure owners and operators (Manhattan Cyber Project)
  • 1st DoD-wide computer crime workshop for IA, investigators and attorneys
  • 1st State Infrastructure Protection Center for Arizona
  • 1st Clearinghouse for Intelligence Media Exploitation (CHIME) to support GWOT
  • 1st Computer Forensics team to support Special Operations

Jim also teaches two graduate courses at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs entitled, "The Cyber Threat to American National Security" and "National Cyber Policy."

Jim has managed little league baseball teams for 13-15 year olds for the last five years. Jim is retired as a college hockey referee. He has worked as a professional referee at the minor league level and was the U.S.A. Hockey Supervisor of Officials for the mid-Atlantic states. Additionally, he worked for the National Hockey League as an off-ice official for the Washington Capitals for eight years and officiated on-ice pre-season, exhibition and training camp games.

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