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Former Federal CISO Touhill Named New Director of CMU SEI CERT Division

Former Federal CISO Touhill Named New Director of CMU SEI CERT Division
Press Release

Pittsburgh, Pa., April 19, 2021—Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute today announced the appointment of Gregory J. Touhill as director of the SEI's CERT Division.

A federally funded research and development center, the SEI helps government and industry organizations develop and operate software systems that are secure and reliable. The SEI's CERT Division is known around the world for its culture of innovation in cybersecurity areas such as cyber incident management, malicious software analysis, cyber resilience, insider threat detection and mitigation, and cyber workforce development.

Touhill was appointed by former President Barack Obama to be the first chief information security officer (CISO) of the United States. Previously he served in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as deputy assistant secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, National Programs and Protection Directorate. Most recently he was president of Appgate Federal, a provider of cybersecurity services to government defense and civil agencies.

"Greg Touhill’s cybersecurity experience reaches broadly across not only the U.S. government, but also into industry and academia," said CMU Vice President for Research J. Michael McQuade. "As an adjunct faculty member of the CMU Heinz College, he well knows the cybersecurity needs from all sectors. We are pleased to have such an experienced leader and internationally recognized lecturer and educator to direct the CERT Division of the SEI and to partner with researchers across the university in our work to improve the security and resilience of our nation’s information infrastructure."

Touhill is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force where he served not only as a senior leader of cybersecurity and information technology programs, but also as a military commander and recipient of the Bronze Star. He retired from the Air Force with the rank of brigadier general.

"Our nation is constantly tested by persistent and growing cybersecurity risks that threaten the nation’s defense, homeland security, and intelligence communities," said Paul Nielsen, SEI director and CEO. "With his broad experience in the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, we are confident that Greg will lead our CERT Division in making significant advances in the complex task of securing the nation’s critical infrastructures."

Touhill received his bachelor's degree in political science from Penn State University, a master's degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, a master's degree in strategic studies from the Air War College, and a certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School. He maintains both the CISSP and CISM certifications. A member of many organizational boards and committees and recipient of many awards, Touhill was recognized by Security Magazine as one of its Most Influential People in Security and by Federal Computer Week in the Federal 100. He is the co-author of the book Cybersecurity for Executives: A Practical Guide.

"Throughout my professional career I have been fortunate to be a member of some amazing teams that have contributed to protecting national security and national prosperity," said Touhill. "I am honored to be selected as the director of the SEI CERT Division to pursue the mission of assuring our nation’s cyber defense. I look forward to joining this internationally-recognized team of cyber experts that for over 35 years has been at the forefront of reducing cyber threats to the nation’s critical infrastructure and researching next-generation solutions that harden the cyber ecosystem."

For more information about the SEI's CERT Division, see

About the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute
The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon University. The SEI works with organizations to make measurable improvements in their software engineering capabilities by providing technical leadership to advance the practice of software engineering. The CERT Division of the SEI is the world’s leading trusted authority dedicated to improving the security and resilience of computer systems and networks and a national asset in the field of cybersecurity. For more information, visit the SEI website at