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Spotlight on Commerce: Ray Cohen, Deputy Assistant Director for International Operations, Bureau of Industry and Security

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce Military Veterans in honor of Veterans Day.

My name is Raymond Cohen and I work for the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). I grew up in the wonderful city of Detroit, Michigan and am a retired Air Force Veteran. I served in the Air Force for 20 years and had a diverse career covering two paths. I began as a Security Police officer and later became an All-source analyst.  It was this unique path in the military that set me up for the lifestyle that I enjoy today.

At the Department of Commerce, my key responsibilities consist of achieving the goals outlined in the missions of both the Assistant Director of International Operations Division and the Office of Enforcement Analysis at the BIS. Our mission at the BIS is to promote U.S. exports by preventing the diversion or misuse of export controlled items abroad through end-use checks, outreach, and cooperation with foreign governments.

I am a continuous learner and have been in higher learning since 1988.  I have a MA in Criminal Justice with a focus on terrorism from American Military University, a MA in International Relations from Webster University and a MS in Logistic and Supply Chain Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Currently, I am finishing a Graduate Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies from American Public University.   

I am the President of Model United Nation for American Public University. The Model UN program helps university-level students improve their diplomacy, negotiation and critical thinking skills through simulation of UN committees.  I am also a member of the China/Africa research organization affiliated with various universities around the world.

My mother has been and is the greatest influence in my life.  She put her dreams and ambition on hold so that my four siblings and I could grow up into the men and women we are today.  

It means the world to me to be an American veteran because it allowed me to serve my country in a way that few are ever able to do.  I was able to protect the lives of my family, friends and everyday Americans that will one day accomplish great things.  If that is not enough to fill one's heart with pride, then I don't know what will.      

The advice I would have to give a new veteran is to keep on studying and keep learning.  In order to adequately prepare oneself for the rigors of any career today you always have to be a step or two ahead of our competitors. As military veterans are taught, to survive in life you should have the knowledge to create a plan and the ability to execute the plan at the right time.  Keeping yourself educated increases your chances to outmaneuver your opponent and increases your chances of having a successful life.  

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