Remembering a National Cyber Security Icon, Rosemary Wenchel

by Terry Roberts

Tribute:  Recently a National Security Cyber Icon, Rosemary Wenchel, died unexpectantly.  I first met and worked with Rosemary in 1996, when she was at the Naval Information Warfare Activity (NIWA) as the director of the Naval Information Warfare Analysis Center.  A deeply talented and technical, unassuming, quietly passionate and compelling soul, Rosemary was an Information Operations leader and practitioner with a broad reach and lasting impact.  Her sense of self and dedication to all spectrums of the cyber mission was peerless. My heart aches for her and for the loss to each of us. 

Short bio below:

In her “retirement”, Rosemary has been serving as the Chief Technology Officer at the Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group (as a Penn State IPA).  Previously, Rosemary served as the deputy assistant secretary in the National Protection and Programs Directorate and Director for Cybersecurity Coordination for the Department of Homeland Security.  In this position, Rosemary Wenchel was responsible for interdepartmental collaboration in strategic planning for the nation’s cybersecurity, support for cybersecurity capabilities development, and synchronization of current operational cybersecurity mission activities for the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense (DoD), including the National Security Agency.  She was also the DHS senior cybersecurity representative to the United States Cyber Command.  In addition, Rosemary ensured the Department’s cybersecurity research and development efforts are fully coordinated with policy and operations.

Rosemary Wenchel previously served as the director of cyber capabilities and operations support in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.  Prior to that, she was the director of cyber, information operations and strategic studies for DoD.  She also exercised supervisory authority over specified Department Activities which provided analysis and integration for the secretary of defense and participating defense components.  Mrs. Wenchel joined the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff in 2006 as the senior advisor and technical director for Information Operations (IO). 

Prior to joining DoD, Mrs Wenchel was the director of Navy Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) and the deputy branch head for Battlespace Awareness, TENCAP, and IO for the deputy chief of naval operations for communication networks, OPNAV N6. 

From 2002 to 2005, she served as the chief scientist to the Commander, Naval Security Group.

Rosemary Wenchel joined the Naval Information Warfare Activity in 1995 as the director of the Naval Information Warfare Analysis Center.  In 1999, she assumed the role as the head of the Computational Analysis, Design Engineering, and Testing Department at the Naval Research Lab.  Wenchel began her professional career with the Naval Security Group as a Computer Systems Programmer in 1989.

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