Our talented and experienced faculty members are some of our greatest resources.

The faculty for the MS in Cyber Security Engineering and MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership  are experienced instructor practitioners, who hold advanced degrees in the fields of Computer Science, Engineering, Information Technology, and Information Assurance/Cyber Security.  All of the instructors have extensive industry experience in working in contested cyber environments to mitigate advanced persistent threats.  Many have developed solutions for high stakes systems that protect the lives and prosperity of the nation, and have been recognized as pioneers and leaders in the domain.

Paul Keener

Academic Coordinator and Adjunct Professor

Paul Keener worked in the field of cybersecurity for the last 17 years. As a United States Marine Communications Officer, he has years of experience developing and leading cyber penetration teams within the Department of Defense. During his career as a Marine, he has led the Marine Corps Red Team; taught the data network package for the Basic Communications Officer Course; and planned for large, secure deployed networks in often austere, unforgiving environments. His most recent job within the Marine Corps was as the Cyber Developmental Test and Evaluation Lead for MCTSSA (Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity), where he led the development of an advanced adversarial cyber testing capability. The team that he led focused at the nation-state level on exposing the specific, exploitable vulnerabilities within Marine Corps Command and Control systems. He has a passion for creating life-long students in the art of cyber warfare and most of his career as a Marine has been focused on the training and development of cyber professionals. Recently retired from the Marine Corps, he now works for ViaSat, leading their Red Team and Cyber Threat Hunting efforts. Paul has a Bachelors in Political Science from UC San Diego and a Masters in Military Studies from Marine Corps University. He is married and has two children.

Mark Heckman, Ph.D.

Professor of Practice

Mark Heckman has worked in the field of information security for over 30 years as an engineer, researcher, practitioner, and educator. His wide-ranging career has spanned many areas of information security, including research and development of very high-assurance, multi-level secure systems for use in government and the military, research and development of intrusion detection and security event management systems, and general IT security and compliance for commercial organizations in the financial and health industries. Heckman earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science at the University of California, Davis and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). He is currently a Professor of Practice and teaches in the Cyber Security Engineering and Technology program at the University of San Diego.

Ashton Mozano, J.D.

Adjunct Professor

Professor Mozano has over two decades of experience in Information Technology (IT), Cyber, and Information Security (InfoSec), having delved into cyberspace at a young age.  As the technical lead in Advanced Cyber Science & Technology (S&T), Mobile Security, and Cloud Security-as-a-Service efforts, as well as the Principal Systems Engineer, Senior Subject Matter Expert, Project Manager, and Program Director at a number of Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, he has provided subject matter expertise in architecture, system design, software development, testing, reverse-engineering, and exploit development.  Moreover, he has collaborated with and led Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) engineering and acquisition initiatives in the area of cyberspace operations for the Department of Defense (DoD).  A coder and tinkerer by passion, his recent focus has been on developing autonomous cyber reasoning systems, as well as exploring unconventional solutions to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) security challenges.  He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Microbiology (emphasis on molecular biology and genetic engineering), Management Science & Information Systems (MSIS), Operations Research & Industrial Engineering (ORIE), Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE), and Jurisprudence Doctorate from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), and the University of San Diego—School of Law, respectively, in addition to having studied international business and management at the Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.  He is also a US Navy Reserve Officer, an experienced litigator, an avid traveler, a passionate instructor with experience teaching at UCSD, UT Austin, California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly), and Chapman University, and a lifelong student of art, science, and engineering.

Donald Biedermann

Adjunct Professor

Don Biedermann joined the USD Center for Cyber Security Engineering and Technology as an adjunct professor in August 2016. A retired United States Marine Corps Communications and Information Technology Officer, Biedermann now works for the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a Program Manager and the West Coast Cyber Security Lead.  He supports the Navy’s Information Assurance Technical Authority (IATA) within the US Naval Space and Warfare System Command (SPAWAR).  Biedermann has been working communications and information technology, along with communications and information security for over three decades.  After receiving an undergraduate degree in Economics for the University of Southern California, Biedermann was commissioned and started his career as a Communications Officer. As information technology grew, Biedermann transitioned to computer systems management and ultimately became the Chief Information Officer for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego and the Marine Corps base at 29 Palms, California. Upon joining SAIC after retirement, Biedermann was placed in the Navy and Marine Corps Internet (NMCI) program with SPAWAR, where he worked as part of the Navy team implementing the huge network. His transition to information assurance and cyber security over 15 year ago was a natural move with his background in communication and information security. Biedermann obtained his Master’s degree in Information Technology and Cyber Security with distinction. He is a Program Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO). Biedermann brings with him a deep expertise in Information Technology Operations and Management, Personnel Management, Cyber Security Operations and Management, Systems Engineering, and Program Management.

Thomas Plunkett

Adjunct Professor

Thomas Plunkett is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), EnCase Certified Forensic Examiner (EnCE), and holds a Master’s degree in Information Systems.  He is currently the Manager of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery at Becton Dickinson (BD), a global medical device manufacturing firm.  In this position, he leads forensics investigations involving intellectual property theft and other information security related incidents.  Prior to working at BD, Mr. Plunkett was employed as a Digital Forensic Examiner at Stroz Friedberg in Los Angeles where he worked on large-scale electronic discovery cases, analyzed hundreds of terabytes of data, and examined thousands of electronic devices.  He also provided expert Incident Response, Site Security Assessment, digital forensic analysis, and Risk Management consultation to both domestic and international clients.  His clientele has included Federal, State, and Local Government, large Health Care providers, Multi-national retail, finance, and entertainment companies, as well as local hotels, restaurants, museums and celebrities.  Before joining Stroz Friedberg, Mr. Plunkett was the lead Information Security Analyst for the County of Riverside.  There he analyzed malicious cyber activity, performed malware reverse-engineering, and led digital forensics investigations.   Before Riverside, Mr. Plunkett was the head of Cyber Counterintelligence at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos National Laboratory.  In this position he led multiple international cyber intrusion investigations and directed the cyber counterintelligence awareness program.  In the seven years prior, Mr. Plunkett worked for a Defense contractor in Washington, DC where he was a Program Manager and Vice President managing numerous IT and InfoSec contracts for various Federal agencies.

Doug Magedman

Adjunct Professor

Doug Magedman joined the USD Center for Cyber Security Engineering and Technology as an adjunct professor in January 2016. As a retired US Naval Officer and current civilian engineer with the US Naval Space and Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), Magedman has been working with IT Systems Development and Acquisition within the Office of the Chief Engineer for nearly a decade.  After receiving an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California, Magedman was commissioned and started his career as a US Navy Pilot. After thirteen years in the cockpit he transitioned into Operations Research and Human Systems Integration receiving a Masters from the US Naval Postgraduate School. He spent the remainder of his career and where he continues today working with IT-related programs and engineering teams in all aspects of systems of system engineering to include cyber security. In the meantime, he has earned several awards for his work in addition to a Masters in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity with distinction and near completion of another Masters in Management and Information Systems.  Magedman brings with him a wide range of applied IT engineering experience with specializations encompassing Systems Engineering, System of Systems Engineering, Human Computer Interface Design, Systems Safety Engineering, Manpower, Personnel, and Training in addition to Cybersecurity.

Brian Russell

Adjunct Professor

Brian Russell is a chief engineer focused on cyber security solutions for Leidos. He oversees the design and development of security solutions and the implementation of privacy and trust controls for customers, with a focus on securing the Internet of Things (IoT). Brian leads efforts that include security engineering for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and connected vehicles.  He has 16 years of information security experience.  Brian’s past experience includes network security, cryptographic systems engineering, and key management systems.  He has helped to author the High Assurance Internet Protocol Encryptor (HAIPE) Interoperability Specification and led technical efforts for Naval Cryptographic Modernization.

Brian is a co-author of the book “Practical Internet of Things Security, published by Packt Publishing.  He also serves as Chair of the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) IoT Working Group, and as a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Technological Advisory Council (TAC) Cybersecurity Working Group. Brian is a member of the Center for Internet Security (CIS) Editorial Panel for the 20 Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense and volunteers in support of the Securing Smart Cities (SSC) Initiative.

Jack McCready, PhD

Adjunct Professor

Dr. McCready has 40 years in the Scientific and Engineering community providing research, development, evaluation and successful product transition/implementation.  He has spent the last 25 years at the U.S. Coast Guard’s (CG) Research & Development Center as the Division Director responsible for all research relating to C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers/Cyber and Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) as well as the Director for Strategic Analysis & Business Development.

Over the course of his years his expertise spans multiple areas.  He is an expert in Maritime Operations covering Maritime Stewardship, Maritime Security (Founding member of the CG Special Forces), and Maritime Search & Rescue.  His technical experience includes maritime communications (shore, surface, underwater, airborne, and space-based), sensing systems (Acoustic Visual, IR, and RF), IT/Cyber, Counter Narcotics & Counter Terrorism, non-lethal weaponry as well as CBRNE technology.  He has specific expertise in defining and developing research plans addressing cyber issues affecting the Maritime Transportation System (MTS).  Complimenting his knowledge and expertise with cyber, Dr. McCready has both the practical experience of identifying, matching, and delivering new capabilities from industry and academia as ready-made products for immediate use by CG.

Brad Palm

Adjunct Professor

Brad Palm is a Lead Network Analyst for the Department of Defense working in the cybersecurity and network efficiency domains. He focuses on network capture and analysis for tactical and enterprise networks, testing emerging technologies and devices for the DoD, and utilizing captured traffic to influence test scenarios so that they better represent typical network traffic profiles for developmental testing phases. Brad has completed in-depth vendor comparisons for Wide Area Network optimization devices, supported Tier1-level programs in troubleshooting and optimization tasks, deployed in support of tactical units to provide network analysis, and conducted cyber testing for numerous programs. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of St. Thomas and a Masters of Computer Science from the Naval Postgraduate School. His professional interests include contributing to the Wireshark network analysis community, tinkering with open source virtualization/container/provisioning technologies, learning about software defined and mesh networking, and increasing the usability of secure communication platforms to facilitate wide scale adoption.

Ryan Richter

Adjunct Professor

Ryan Richter has several years of experience conducting adversarial cyber testing on tactical systems for the Department of Defense, acting in both leadership and engineering roles.  He has a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of San Diego and a Masters of Computer Science from the Naval Postgraduate School. He has completed multiple tours as a combat leader in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His professional interests include network penetration testing, open source virtualization technologies for building cyber testing environments and collaboration platforms for coordinating activities in cyberspace. He enjoys continuously exploring new technologies and programming languages.

Michael Decker

Adjunct Professor

Michael Decker has diverse cyber security expertise that includes international penetration testing, embedded software programming, and security engineering. He was the lead programmer for a nuclear materials monitoring safeguards device used by the IAEA, and has extensive enterprise applications encryption expertise with SSH and SSL. Mike is currently a security engineer with ViaSat, focusing on strengthening enterprise defenses, threat hunting, and penetration testing. He earned his Master’s degree in Information Security and Assurance from Western Governor’s University, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Computer Science from University of New Mexico. He holds multiple professional certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), GIAC certified penetration tester, and forensics analyst (GPEN and GCFA).