July 18, 2022—TAMPA, FL: After helping to oversee a period of rapid change and dramatic growth at the Florida Center for Cybersecurity (also known as Cyber Florida), Staff Director Ron Sanders, DPA, has announced his retirement. Dr. Sanders first served as a member of the Board of Advisors upon the center’s founding in 2013. In 2020, he was brought on as staff director under former Executive Director Mike McConnell, VADM, USN, Ret., who has also recently retired. During his tenure as staff director, Dr. Sanders championed several new initiatives that garnered national recognition for the center and helped secure significant new funding for a series of efforts to improve the state’s overall cybersecurity posture.

“I am grateful to Dr. Sanders for his many notable contributions to this organization,” said the center’s new executive director, General (Retired) Frank McKenzie. He continued, “His leadership was instrumental in elevating Cyber Florida to national prominence, and together, he and VADM McConnell built an impressive legacy. I’m proud to carry on the remarkable momentum they created and wish Dr. Sanders well in retirement.”

Dr. Sanders’ career includes nearly three decades of decorated civil service. Among his many accomplishments, he helped lead the historic post-Cold War transformation of the U.S. Defense Department and the post-9/11 stand-up of the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of National Intelligence. He managed the recruiting, development, and deployment of thousands of new intelligence officers to fight the Global War on Terror and the restructuring of the IRS. He helped establish the United Arab Emirates’ cybersecurity and space agencies and China’s National School of Administration. He was also a presidential appointee, serving as chair of the U.S. Federal Salary Council from 2017 to 2020.

Dr. Sanders is the recipient of three Presidential Rank Awards (from DOD, IRS, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management), two Teddy Roosevelt Distinguished Public Service Awards, and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. He is the author of four books and has served on the faculty of several distinguished institutions, including George Washington University, The Brookings Institution, and the University of South Florida.

During his tenure with Cyber Florida, he led the transformation of the University of South Florida’s online M.S. in Cybersecurity into four independent cyber-focused master’s degree programs to better align with employer needs. He advocated for the launch of the center’s highly successful Operation K12 program, and his passion for public service led him to create the Cyber Citizenship Education initiative, designed to teach K-12 students to navigate online misinformation and disinformation, among other accomplishments.


The Florida Center for Cybersecurity, also known as Cyber Florida, was established by the Florida Legislature in 2014 to help position Florida as a national leader in cybersecurity through education, research, and outreach. Hosted by the University of South Florida, Cyber Florida leads a spectrum of initiatives to inspire and educate future and current professionals, support industry-advancing research, and help people and organizations better understand cyber threats and what they can do to stay safer in cyberspace.