The Department of Homeland Security named McAfee chief technology officer Phyllis Schneck to the position of Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity today. She is the third appointed to the position since its creation in 2011.
Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano announced the hire in a blog post saying that the U.S. has gotten particularly serious about protecting the country from hackers and other cyber attackers for the last four and a half years. Appointing new people to Internet-security specific positions is an example of that continued focus.
But this specific position has proved to be difficult to fill. Mark Weatherford, who is currently a principal at The Chertoff Group, held the office first, but he left only a little over a year later. Bruce McConnell succeeded him, but only stayed on until July. Now, it’s Schneck’s turn at the DHS cybersecurity helm. She will start her new role in September, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This isn’t Schneck’s first time working with the government. She served as chairman of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s InfraGard National Board for eight years and grew the program to 30,000 members in her time. But it’s likely Schneck’s connection to the private sector that whet the DHS’s appetite.
Schneck was the vice president and CTO, specifically for the Global Public Sector at McAfee, which creates security software for both consumers and businesses. Napolitano pointed out in the blog post that she believes the government has “strengthened partnerships with the private sector” and trusts Schneck will continue that mission.