Chuck Bane: A Lifetime of Service and Dedication

Chuck Bane: A Lifetime of Service and Dedication

USD received CAE designation awardChuck Bane holding the highly coveted award for USD's CAE Designation.

As I enter the office of Program Director of the Center for Cybersecurity Engineering and Technology, Chuck Bane, MSITM, PMP, CISSP, CERT CESwA, CCSK, CWNA, I am struck by the rich tapestry of his life's journey that unfolds before me. After 54 years of an illustrious career, Bane is preparing to take his final bow on May 31, 2024.

I pause to take in the surroundings before I conduct his farewell interview. My gaze is drawn to the wall ahead, adorned with three sets of wooden bookshelves laden with memorabilia and books. The treasures that line these shelves slowly begin to come into focus, each one serving as tangible reminders of the milestones and achievements that have enriched his life and shaped his remarkable career.                 

Atop the middle bookshelf, a mesmerizing framed photograph taken at Sunset Cliff State Park immediately catches my eye. Bane, a true photography enthusiast, has immortalized an ethereal moment on film, drawing me in from the moment I step into the room.

Further sweeping my eyes across the shelves, I stop to admire the impressive collection of nostalgic and modern cameras that Bane proudly displays. From the Kodak Pocket 1A (circa 1926) and a 1947 Kodak Flash Bantam to the 1963 Kodak Brownie and the Canon 1V from the 1980s, Bane's passion for photography is evident. He even has a stunning 4 x 5 sheet film press camera from 1953, a Graflex: Pacemaker Speed Graphic, showcasing his appreciation for the art of capturing moments in time.

The grandest shelf display, however, is reserved for family photos, each one telling its own unique story and revealing the importance of the loved ones Bane cherishes most. "It's all about family," he admits, a sentiment that resonates deeply.

Alongside the family photos and camera collection, hundreds of technical books line the remaining shelves, a testament to Bane's expertise and dedication to his field of cybersecurity. Framed certificates and awards further highlight his impressive achievements, making it clear that he has more than one passion in his life.

I begin the interview by asking how he feels about his approaching retirement. Although he confesses he has mixed emotions, he ultimately answers, “It’s time. I’ve already retired twice — once from the U.S. Navy, then after 25 years with government contractors.” He chuckles, “My son’s friend once said, ‘I hear your dad is retiring. What’s next?’” Bane always had a job waiting for him when he retired.

Reflecting over his career, he begins to share the details of his life in the U.S. Navy. “As I went through the military, I had a couple good instructors who helped me out, who pushed me along the path to become a military instructor.” Bane taught at Trident Design School for two years. “That’s when I got picked up for the Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP) — one of the first 50 for the new program — and became an officer.” He spent 11 years as an enlisted electronics technician and 14 years as a combat systems officer. 

After retiring from the Navy, Bane was put in charge of the military wireless communications systems with Marconi Systems Technologies. This led his career path into security for communications systems, which in turn led to the security of systems. “Eventually that term migrated to being referred to as cybersecurity,” Bane explains, never imagining he would wind up in this field. “I was a ‘wire head’ always thinking on the hardware side of things. I was dragged kicking and screaming into this.”

He started teaching as an adjunct professor alongside his work as a government contractor. “Ever since I was in high school, I knew I was going to teach…I taught at several schools, primarily with National University, for 15 years. I was part of the team that did their CAE [Center for Academic Excellence] process.”

In 2018, Bane once again emerged from his retired status. He was offered a position as a professor of practice at the University of San Diego (USD) for the MS in Cybersecurity Engineering (MS-CSE) program to teach graduate students and update the curriculum. In 2020, he took over as academic director of the MS-CSE program and as director of the Center for Cybersecurity Engineering and Technology. “This was exactly what I wanted to do. I was really able to work on the curriculum and have some impact on the program. I got to find subject matter experts to be able to finish the course. It is a constantly changing field.”

Bane recalls two of his proudest career accomplishments at USD.  “I got to write a recommendation for a young Marine in our combined masters program that got him assigned to the Marine Corps cyber group. That was a big deal. Also, the fact that I redesigned the curriculum and we could get through the CAE process the first time in just a year-and-a-half — that was a significant milestone.”

Over the years, Bane has taught over 3,000 students. “I’ve been with a lot of students and I’ve helped them get to the end. That feels good.”

When asked what comes next, Bane's top priority is his family. "Family comes first," he emphasizes. He has two grandchildren living in the Seattle area, and he and his wife, Pamela, plan to spend more quality time with their loved ones.

Reflecting on his Naval career, Bane acknowledges the sacrifices his wife made during the many years he was away from home. "I was gone a lot and my wife handled a lot. Being a Navy wife is hard," he says. Now, with retirement on the horizon, Bane and his wife are looking forward to more time together.

One of their first planned retirement adventures is a 10-day trip to the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska next year, which will include a cruise and a train journey. "I've heard seeing Denali is breathtaking," Bane says excitedly. In 2025, the couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, and they plan to make it a truly memorable occasion.

As Bane prepares to embark on this new chapter of his life, it's clear that his priorities are firmly rooted in his family and the opportunity to create lasting memories together. After a lifetime of service and dedication, and having served as a visionary who has left an indelible mark on the cybersecurity industry and countless student’s lives, he is ready to embrace the joys of retirement and the chance to fully appreciate the people and experiences that matter most to him.

— Michelle Sztupkay