In memoriam: Lynn McNulty

F. Lynn McNulty, an early champion of information security in the government, passed away on June 4.

McNulty, whom Federal Computer Week identified as one of the key thought leaders of the past 25 years in a feature package that will appear in the June 15 issue, spent 30 years in the government. In the 1970s, he began to call for better measures to protect information.

Over the span of his federal career he served as the State Department’s first director of information systems security; as security program manager at the Federal Aviation Administration; and as associate director for computer security at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

According to a statement released on June 5 by the Extension Group in coordination with the McNulty family, he died of cancer.

"Mr. McNulty died peacefully at his home yesterday morning with his wife, Peg, and two daughters, Maureen and Sarah, by his side," the statement reads. "After being diagnosed with diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma in 2011, Lynn underwent several rounds of treatment, including participation in a clinical trial at NIH that allowed him to live actively until approximately a week ago when his health rapidly declined."

After leaving government he became a consultant, and served in several roles at the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, better known as (ISC)2, a non-profit organization dedicated to training and certifying cybersecurity professionals.

That organization posted a brief statement after McNulty's death, which reads, in part: "Lynn was the champion for the [Government Information Security Leadership Awards] program, which has become one of the most coveted programs for federal cybersecurity pros today and that gave birth to a highly successful global program.  The (ISC)2 Community and [the] information security profession has truly lost one of its finest leaders."

“He was a devoted father and grandfather as well as dedicated husband,” said daughter Maureen McNulty, in the family's statement. “We will always cherish his optimism, energy and sense of adventure.”

Charitable donations in McNulty's memory should be made to the National Park Conservation Association or the Civil War Trust.

We invite FCW readers who knew McNulty to share memories of him, whether professional or personal, in the comments.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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Reader comments

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 Wally Gilliam

I knew Lynn when he was with the State Department. He fought an uphill battle against bureaucratic inertia. But he never tired, and by the time he left the DoS, he had laid the foundations for an effective program. I admired him greatly.

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 Mike Kilroy Orange County, Calif.

I worked with Lynn as the PR representative for (ISC) for several years. Always loved his good humor, professionalism and dedication to the cyber-security cause. He will be missed.

Thu, Jun 14, 2012 Robin Roberts

Lynn was a good friend and true leader. He found many ways to fight the good fight for better security and to encourage and inspire young officers. He was a kind and generous person, interested in a wide variety of things. He was gracious and courageous and he will be miss very very much. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family - he talked about them so often.

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 Jim Golden Virginia

I met Lynn when he was starting up the Government Advisory Board for CyberSecurity(GABCS)and he asked me to sit on the board. He led the board for several years very effectively and was always the champion of the Government Information Security professional. He was also a very caring person that made everyone feel valued and with important ideas. Lynn was a GREAT professional and person that will be missed by all of us. May God Bless Lynn McNulty and watch over his Family

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 Steve Skolochenko

Oh what a shame. I first worked with Lynn in the 70's when I was with USAMMSA and I think Lynn was at State. He was a true and dedicated servant to the people and the profession. It was Lynn, Hal tipton and other dedicated "data security" guys who made ISC2 work and really halped professionalize the work we did. RIP Lynn.

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