J. Michael “Mike” McConnell, VADM, USN, Retired, is the executive director of Cyber Florida. Previously, he has served as director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA) and director of U.S. National Intelligence (DNI) under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Vice Chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton.
With a 50-year career focused on international and foreign intelligence, Vice Adm. McConnell brings a depth of knowledge and experience acquired from service in both the public and private sectors. His 29-year career as a US Navy intelligence officer included significant assignments that impacted national security. During Operation Desert Storm and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Vice Adm. McConnell served as the Intelligence Officer for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, and the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney.
From 1992 to 1996, he served as the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA) under Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton. As DIRNSA, he led the agency during a critical period as it adapted to the multi-polar threats brought about by the end of the Cold War, providing global intelligence and information security services to the White House, Cabinet officials, Congress, and a broad array of military and civil intelligence agencies.
After retiring from the US Navy in 1996, Vice Adm. McConnell joined Booz Allen Hamilton to lead the development of the firm’s Information Assurance and Intelligence business, focused on policy, operations, transformation, homeland security, intelligence analytics, and counterterrorism.
Upon being asked by President George W. Bush in 2007 to become the second US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), he left Booz Allen and served as the DNI, a position of Cabinet rank, and as a member of the White House National Security Council for two years under Presidents Bush and Obama. During this time, he successfully advocated for a multi-billion-dollar investment to substantially improve cybersecurity standards for the
US—securing support from two US presidents and Congress.
As DNI, he managed the expansive national Intelligence Community— an organization with more than 100,000 people and an annual budget of over $50 billion—and he had extensive interactions with the White House, the Cabinet, Congress, international leaders, and the US business community.
In 2009, Vice Adm. McConnell returned to Booz Allen as Executive Vice President to lead the firm’s Intelligence business and, in 2011, he was elevated to the position of Vice Chairman of the firm, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 2014. He continues to serve as a Senior Executive Advisor for Booz Allen.
Vice Adm. McConnell’s interest since his service as Director of NSA in 1992–96 has been to improve the cybersecurity posture of businesses and government agencies around the world to better protect them from hackers, criminals, terrorists, and nation-states focused on economic espionage or destruction of vital data.
He serves on the US-based Board of Directors of Nokia for US-based business operations as well as the boards of numerous start-up companies that are developing technologies and capabilities for improved cybersecurity posture.
Vice Adm. McConnell served as the Chairman of the Board of Advisors for Cyber Florida from its founding in 2014 until 2020, when he was appointed executive director of the center by University of South Florida President Dr. Steven C. Currall.
In addition to having received many of the nation’s highest military awards for meritorious service, Vice Adm. McConnell has twice received the nation’s highest award for service in the US Intelligence Community—once from President Clinton and once from President George W. Bush. Vice Adm. McConnell has also served as the Chairman and CEO of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), and he is the 2011 recipient of INSA’s William Oliver Baker Award, which is awarded annually for sustained and excellent service in intelligence and national security.
Vice Adm. McConnell holds an M.P.A. degree from George Washington University, is a graduate of the National Defense University (Global Telecom) and the National Defense Intelligence College (Strategic Intelligence) and holds a B.A. in Economics from Furman University. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Vice Adm. McConnell has been awarded several honorary doctorates, the most recent from the University of South Florida in 2016.