The director of counterterrorism advises BYU-I students

Dela-Cruz talking about his life experiences
Dela-Cruz talking about his life experiences

On Thursday, March 23, Derek Dela-Cruz, the director for counterterrorism on the National Security Council, met with BYU-Idaho students and gave them advice and knowledge about current national events.

At the beginning of this event, students had to change rooms because of the number of people who wanted to listen to Dela-Cruz.

Dela-Cruz talked about transitioning to different jobs. He saw each adjustment as an opportunity to change and become the best he could be in his new position.

“You never stop learning,” Dela-Cruz said. “You never stop evolving.”

Throughout the changes in his life, he needed the ability to adjust to his situations and surroundings as quickly as possible.

“In order to be the best public servant, I had to build up resilience and that is what enabled me to be a productive member of the National Security Council,” Dela-Cruz said.

Dela-Cruz has worked inside the White House with people striving to serve and protect the country.

“My experience at the White House has been working with some intelligent, talented people that are using every minute of their time to do what’s right,” Dela-Cruz said.

Dela-Cruz has more than 20 years of experience working for the government.

This is the second guest speaker that Medlir Mema, BYU-I political science professor, has planned for his students.

“On top of being the sole Diplomatic Security Service representative to the White House during the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he was also Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Ambassador’s Protective Detail, U.S. Embassy Baghdad; Chief (Regional Security Officer) at the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan and has been deployed to Israel, Pakistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and Liberia,” Mema said.

Dela-Cruz described how he is an operational worker. It is important for him to get down to the facts because quick and efficient decisions have to be made every day at the White House.

Dela-Cruz said that it is important to balance work, church and personal life.

“You are rewarded in public for the decisions you make in your personal life,” Dela-Cruz said.

Dele-Cruz encouraged audience members to question everything they hear on TV or social media. According to him, many news media do not include the full picture of what happens in the White House. Not every single story gets covered.

Every day Dela-Cruz finds opportunities to work hard. He lives by the adage, “Treat every day like it is a job interview.” He maximizes his free time and is resilient in learning and growing constantly.