DHS official Bruce McConnell to return to private sector

Thursday - 7/18/2013, 3:13pm EDT

Bruce McConnell is leaving the Homeland Security Department after serving more than four years in an assortment of senior cybersecurity positions. McConnell said in a note to staff obtained by Federal News Radio that he will return to the private sector in August.

"It has been a privilege to serve the United States from DHS and NPPD. DHS' mission — to create a safe, secure and resilient place where the American ways of life can thrive, and the NPPD mission — leading the national effort to protect and enhance the resilience of the nation's physical and cyber infrastructure, are inspiring and critically important," McConnell wrote. "Our missions, and your devotion to those missions, far outweigh the challenges of a young department and inspire us to continually improve the ways we work together."

In an email to Federal News Radio, DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee said McConnell "has been an integral part of a talented team of individuals focused on cybersecurity strategy that has advanced the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity partnerships, both domestically and internationally. We greatly appreciate his contributions and wish him all the best at his future endeavors."

McConnell served as the senior counselor and director of strategy and policy for DHS's National Programs and Protections Directorate (NPPD), and most recently served as acting deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity, replacing Mark Weatherford, who left in April to work in the private sector.

He was named senior counselor in June 2009 by Secretary Janet Napolitano.

"I will deeply miss the regular contact with so many wonderful DHS colleagues as I move on to other activities, carrying with me the goal of helping make the world, and particularly cyberspace, a better place to work and live," McConnell wrote.

One reason for McConnell's departure may be the fact that Phyllis Schneck, vice president and chief technology officer at McAfee Global Public Sector, is rumored to the likely replacement for Weatherford. News reports and other sources say her appointment will happen in the near future.

During McConnell's tenure, he worked on several different initiatives for DHS, including implementing the recent cybersecurity executive order, and worked to extend U.S. cybersecurity cooperation with multiple countries.

McConnell becomes the third senior executive at DHS to resign since January, joining Weatherford and Mike Locatis, the former assistant secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications.

This was McConnell's second tour of duty in the government. He was the chief of information policy and technology in the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1999 where he led the team that reformed U.S. encryption export policy, created an information security strategy for government agencies, redirected government technology procurement and management along commercial lines, and extended the presumption of open government information onto the Internet

McConnell also served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, working on a variety of information policy and technology issues.

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