Sean McAfee to run DHS cyber outpost in Silicon Valley


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The Department of Homeland Security has sent one of its own to Silicon Valley to lead its cybersecurity efforts on the West Coast.

Sean McAfee, who previously served as the deputy chief for the DHS National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Services (NCATS) team, will lead the efforts of the National Protection & Programs Directorate as it works to find private sector technology that can be used across the federal government.

McAfee started working in the Silicon Valley office Feb. 2. He has been working with Deron McElroy, a West Coast cybersecurity advisor for DHS, while also getting input from NPPD and the department’s Science and Technology Directorate.

According to an email obtained by FedScoop that was sent to all NPPD employees by Phyllis Schneck, deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications for NPPD, the office is “meant to provide broader understanding of DHS roles and responsibilities in cybersecurity, to participate in regional events, and to facilitate dialogue while supporting operational activities between Silicon Valley cybersecurity partners and DHS component organizations.”

“NPPD seeks innovative capabilities and new developments that can be applied immediately to DHS cyber operations,” the email reads. “NPPD operational activities in this office will include the sharing of threat information, establishment of technical capability demos for broader stakeholder engagement, continued development of the ‘DHS Hacker-in-Residency’ program, and improving upon the lessons learned from our industry and government partners.”

Before heading to California, McAfee was responsible for overseeing the execution of the cyber hygiene operations during Heartbleed, which influenced the streamlining of information security incidents to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team. He has worked in various capacities at the department since 2008 and holds a master’s degree in forensic psychology from Marymount University

The office he will head is the second DHS Silicon Valley outpost to start operations in the past few months. The S&T directorate’s office there recently issued its first award to Pulzze Systems, a California-based company devoted to securing the Internet of Things.