DHS appoints Schneck to senior cyber position

Monday - 8/19/2013, 10:45am EDT

The Homeland Security Department today named Phyllis Schneck as its new deputy under secretary of cybersecurity in the National Protection and Programs Directorate.

Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the appointment in a blog post this morning. She said she's confident that Schneck "will build upon the foundations laid by her predecessors, to create a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment and promote cybersecurity knowledge and innovation."

Phyllis Schneck, deputy undersecretary of cybersecurity in the National Protection and Programs Directorate, DHS (Image courtesy of McAfee)

Schneck comes to DHS after serving as vice president and chief technology officer at McAfee where she is responsible for the technical vision for public sector applications of security and global threat intelligence, strategic thought leadership around technology and policy in cybersecurity. She also led McAfee initiatives in adaptive security and intelligence in networks for critical infrastructure protection and cross-sector cyber security.

Schneck replaces Mark Weatherford, who left to join the private sector in April after spending more than 18 months on the job.

DHS created the deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity in 2011.

In her new role, Schneck will focus on reducing risk and enhancing the resiliency of critical infrastructure, securing federal facilities and advancing identity management and verification.

Schneck helps DHS replenish its carousel of cyber executives. Most recently, Bruce McConnell, a senior counselor for cybersecurity, left earlier this month, making him the third high-ranking cyber official to leave DHS in 2013. Along with McConnell and Weatherford, Mike Locatis, the former assistant secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, left in January.

Schneck has been heavily involved in the federal cyber community for more than a decade, including serving as the chairwoman of the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB) and as the chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance, a partnership between corporations, government and law enforcement for cyber analysis to combat international cyber crime.

Additionally, she was a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency.

Along with her time at McAfee, Schneck held senior management and technical positions at the Research Integration for Secure Computing, eCommSecurity, SecureWorks, Inc., Avalon Communications, CygnaCom Solutions, the MITRE Corporation, Computer Sciences Corporation, IBM, NASA and the University Of Maryland.

"Phyllis Schneck has been a real leader in the cybersecurity community for years," said Dan Chenok, executive director of IBM Global Business Services' Center for The Business of Government. "Having worked with Phyllis on the CSIS Cyber Commission for the 44th Presidency as well as the Federal Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, I know she will bring a wealth of expertise and experience as well as a strong understanding of how best to lead work on key cybersecurity issues for DHS and the government."

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