EXCLUSIVE: Turnover at DHS cyber operations continue

Sean McGurk is leaving. Nicole Dean gets a promotion and two others step into acting roles to fill in spots.

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The turnover at the Homeland Security Department’s cyber division continues.

Sean McGurk, the director of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, announced he’s leaving, according to an email sent to NPPD staff obtained by Federal News Radio.

McGurk is joining his wife in relocating to another part of the country.

DHS also named Nicole Dean as the new director of the National Cyber Security Division.

This means Bobbi Stempfley, who came to DHS to be the director of NCSD, will continue in her role as the acting assistant secretary in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications for the long-term.

Dean has been deputy director of NCSD and became acting director in June.

McGurk’s decision to leave — his last day is Sept. 23 — also shuffles chairs around in NPPD.

John O’Connor, who is the manager of the National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications, will serve as the acting director of the NCCIC until a permanent replacement is found.

O’Connor has managed the NCC since July 2008, and has been with the National Communications System for 21 years.

McGurk has been director of NCIC since June 2008 where he oversaw DHS’s 24/7 cyber watch and warning center.

Additionally, Rear Adm. Michael Brown, who is the director of Cybersecurity Coordination between DHS and the Defense Department, will take on an additional role as the special assistant for cyber operations. He will report to the undersecretary of NPPD Rand Beers and will assist in further operationalizing NPPD’s cyber mission.

All of these changes come after Randy Vickers unexpectedly resigned as the head of DHS U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) in July, and Phil Reitinger, DHS deputy undersecretary for NPPD, left his position in June.

DHS is expected to name a new deputy undersecretary in the coming weeks.

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