DOD picks Dave McKeown as new CISO

(DOD / Lisa Ferdinando)


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The Department of Defense has tapped Dave McKeown to be its next chief information security officer, a DOD official confirmed to FedScoop.

McKeown, a long-time government IT and security official, most recently at the Department of Justice, will start later in November.

He replaces former CISO Jack Wilmer, who departed in July to lead a private security company. The job is the highest-ranking civilian cybersecurity position in the DOD, with the responsibility for leading DOD’s vast cyber workforce and working closely with senior executives and military leaders to defend the DOD’s networks. Mark Hakun has been serving in the role in an acting capacity since Wilmer’s departure.

Before leading enterprise services at DOJ, McKeown ran enterprise services and cybersecurity for the DOD’s Joint Service Provider, an IT service that, among other things, supplies Wi-Fi to the Pentagon. He is also a retired Air Force officer.

“I am confident Dave has the right skills to serve as the Department’s leader in cybersecurity and look forward to him joining our team,” DOD CIO Dana Deasy told FedScoop in an emailed statement. McKeown’s official title will be deputy CIO for cybersecurity, working directly under Deasy.

As telework continues to be the reality for nearly a third of the DOD workforce, the department is facing increased phishing attacks against its Commercial Virtual Remote telework environment. Other officials in the CIO’s shop signaled that the Pentagon is preparing to move to a zero-trust model to improve its security. McKeown would likely play a key role in any major changes to network configurations and their security.

McKeown’s predecessor Wilmer told FedScoop that he will also have significant policy and budgeting duties.

“A good bit of time is spent in that budgeting cycle,” he said.

He added his well wishes and praise for McKeown and the team he will lead in the CIO’s office, saying he is “frankly excited for Dave to get the opportunity to join a really, really good, high-quality team.”

The DOD is also pushing ahead with its planned digital modernization strategy in addition to pandemic-induced modernization requirements.

“Dave has over 34 years of combined federal service (military and civilian) and is a proven leader in IT strategy; cybersecurity; and the design, planning, and implementation of enterprise IT services,” Deasy added.

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CISO, Cybersecurity, Dana Deasy, Dave McKeown, Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Justice (DOJ), Jack Wilmer, Mark Hakun