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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