Brian Svoboda laughs as he considers what made him embark on a nearly 25-year career serving the United States that began with his enlistment in the Marine Corps at age 19.
“I needed money for college,” he explains.
Svoboda never expected to spend so much time in public service. After his initial military contract ended, he moved his family back to his home state of Texas and found that his time in the infantry did not give him the skills he wanted for a career.
He reenlisted in the Marine Corps.
“I had decided I really wanted to try information technology,” Svoboda says. “The best way to do that was to go back to the Marine Corps and get more experience.”
During his 13-year stint in the Marine Corps, Svoboda was sent to Japan, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. It was there, in the Caribbean, where he participated in his first humanitarian operation. It was Operation Sea Signal, in which Haitian refugees were picked up and sea and brought to a Navy hospital ship for political asylum processing.
Svoboda’s Marine Battalion provided security onboard the USNC Comfort in Kingston Bay, Jamaica, and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during Operation Sea Signal. This experience changed the way he viewed his service.
“I was serving my country, but in some aspects, I’m serving the Haitians because I’m taking care of them, and serving the Cubans, because I’m helping keep them safe, too,” Svoboda states.
After leaving the Marine Corps, Svoboda moved his family to Texas to be closer to their families. After five years of working in information technology in the private sector, he once again entered public service. This time he was a civilian working for the Navy in Atsugi, Japan.
“It was always the plan to go into civil service after I got out of the Marine Corps. It’s more secure than working for a company,” Svoboda says.
Svoboda was in Atsugi, Japan when the March 11, 2011 earthquake and Fukushima disasters occurred, leading to his involvement in Operation Tomodachi. Although family members were encouraged to leave the country because of the threat of radiation, service members and civilian employees were required to stay behind.
Svoboda once again found himself working with Marines when they needed electricity and connectivity to complete their missions.
Civil service is not always about humanitarian and natural disasters. Some of Svoboda’s most important work is done outside the office.
“One of the benefits of public service is having a good work-life balance,” Svoboda says. “This enabled me to further serve my community by coaching little league sports. I was able to mentor young kids and teach them how to play sports while fostering good work ethics.”
Svoboda’s civilian career includes positions in North Carolina, Virginia, a second location in Japan, and now Germany. He plans to return to the United States in the summer of 2022.
Svoboda is not certain where he will land next but expects to continue in public service.
“I think I am going to work for an agency in cyber space and bring my experience of system integration and cyber defense to benefit the U.S. Government,” he says.