Below is information on the speakers for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Strategic Industry Conversation (SIC) IX: Innovation, Research and Development (IRD) Showcase taking place on Monday, October 30. The DHS SIC IX: IRD Showcase, held under the umbrella of the DHS Technology and Innovation Network (DHS-TIN), will communicate the Department’s key IRD areas of interest, exchange ideas, and share cross-cutting trends with attendees to increase transparency and support informed IRD investments and leverage innovation to support Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE) needs.
Jaclyn Rubino serves as the Executive Director of DHS Strategic Programs Division (SPD) within the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) where she oversees the Department’s Category Management and Industry Engagement efforts. Ms. Rubino is a recognized leader in Category Management across the Government where she is widely sought after for her strategies and accomplishments in driving more efficient buying behaviors. In February 2016, Ms. Rubino was named by the Office of Management and Budget as the first Government-wide Security and Protection Category Manager responsible for developing and implementing government-wide strategies that align with established category management principles and methodologies.
Ms. Rubino previously served in numerous positions at DHS, most recently serving as the Director of the Strategic Sourcing Program Office. Prior to her Federal Career, Ms. Rubino served as a Principal with E3 Federal Solutions for several years during which time she consulted on DHS procurements.
Ms. Rubino holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the George Washington University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with a concentration in Political Science from Roger Williams University. Ms. Rubino was a co-author of an article published in the Fall 2005 Journal of Organizational Ethics: Healthcare, Business and Policy. She has received numerous awards for her professional efforts while at DHS including the Federal 100, DHS Management Directorate Partner of the Year Award, and the Multiple-Award in Government and Industry Conference (MAGIC) Small Business Engagement Award.
Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov [Kooz-NETS-off] was confirmed as the Under Secretary for S&T on September 8, 2022. As the science advisor to the Homeland Security Secretary, Dr. Kusnezov heads the research, development, innovation and testing and evaluation activities in support of DHS's operational Components and first responders across the nation. S&T is responsible for identifying operational gaps, conceptualizing art-of-the- possible solutions, and delivering operational results that improve the security and resilience of the nation.
Prior to DHS, Dr. Kusnezov was a theoretical physicist working at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) focusing on emerging technologies. He served in numerous positions, including the Deputy Under Secretary for Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Technology where he led efforts to drive AI innovation and bring it into DOE missions, business and operations, including through the creation of a new AI Office.
Dr. Kusnezov has served in scientific and national security positions, including Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, Chief Scientist for the National Nuclear Security Administration, Director of Advanced Simulation and Computing and the Director of the multi-billion-dollar National Security Science, Technology and Engineering programs. He created numerous programs, including for Minority Serving Institutions, international partners, private sector and philanthropic entities. He has worked across agencies to deliver major milestones such as DOE’s 10-year grand challenge for a 100 Teraflop supercomputer, and first of their kind and world’s fastest supercomputers.
Prior to DOE and his pursuit of public service, Dr. Kusnezov had a long career in academia where he published more than 100 articles and edited two books. He joined Yale University faculty where he was a professor for more than a decade in Theoretical Physics and served as a visiting professor at numerous universities around the world. Before this post, Dr. Kusnezov did a brief postdoc and was an instructor at Michigan State University, following a year of research at the Institut fur Kernphysik, KFA-Julich, in Germany. He earned his MS in Physics and Ph.D. in Theoretical Nuclear Physics at Princeton University and received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Physics and in Pure Mathematics with highest honors from UC Berkeley.
Randolph D. “Tex" Alles became the Deputy Under Secretary for Management in July 2019. In his role, Mr. Alles oversees Department-wide management and oversight for all support functions, such as Information Technology, budget and financial management, procurement, human capital, security, and asset management.
Mr. Alles previously held several leadership positions at DHS. Most recently, he served as the 25th Director of the United States Secret Service from April 2017 to April 2019. As Director, he was responsible for the successful execution of the dual Investigative and Protective missions of the Secret Service. He led a diverse work force, comprised of more than 7,000 Special Agents, Uniformed Division Officers, Technical Law Enforcement Officers, and administrative personnel.
He also held various positions in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), notably serving as Acting Deputy Commissioner, Acting Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Enterprise Services, and leading Air and Marine Operations as the Executive Assistant Commissioner.
Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Alles served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 35 years, retiring in 2011 as a Major General. Throughout his military service, he gained extensive experience in flight training, standardization, operations, quality assurance, logistics, and aviation maintenance.
His squadron (VMFA-312) was awarded the 1997 Robert M. Hanson Award for Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron of the Year. His military honors include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with Combat V and Gold Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, the Air Medal with strike/flight numeral 8, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star.
Mr. Alles received his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
Eric Hysen was sworn in as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for DHS on Feb. 1, 2021.
As CIO, Mr. Hysen is responsible for strategically aligning the Department’s Information Technology (IT) personnel resources and assets, including security, infrastructure, and delivery, to support core DHS missions and activities.
Mr. Hysen most recently served on the Biden-Harris transition’s Technology Strategy & Delivery team, working to develop the administration’s plans to leverage technology and delivery in support of policy priorities. He previously was a Senior Fellow at the National Conference on Citizenship, where he led projects to use technology, data, and design to address pressing public policy challenges. He also worked in state government, helping to launch the California Office of Digital Innovation, and in philanthropy, supporting nonprofits working to advance immigration and criminal justice reform.
Mr. Hysen previously served as the Executive Director of DHS Digital Service. In that leadership role, his teams worked to transform DHS’ most critical services by bringing top software engineering, product management, and design talent from the private sector to partner with innovators inside government. DHS Digital Service projects included immigration benefits processing, refugee admissions, and international trade.
Prior to joining DHS, Mr. Hysen was a founding member of the U.S. Digital Service in the White House. Before government, he worked as a software engineer and program manager at Google.
Mr. Hysen graduated with honors in Computer Science from Harvard University and has published research in crowdsourcing and workflow design.
Dewey Murdick is the Executive Director at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). He serves as an unpaid advisor to the OECD Network of Experts on AI (ONE AI) and for the National Network for Critical Technology Assessment. Prior to joining CSET as its founding Director of Data Science, he was the Director of Science Analytics at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, where he led metric development, data science, and machine learning and statistical research for scientist-facing products and science-related initiatives. Dewey served as Chief Analytics Officer and Deputy Chief Scientist within the Department of Homeland Security. At the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), he co-founded an office in anticipatory intelligence and led programs in high-risk, high-payoff research in support of national security missions. He has also held positions in intelligence analysis, research, software development and contract teaching.
Dewey’s research interests include connecting research and emerging technology to future capabilities, emerging technology forecasting, strategic planning, research portfolio management, and policymaker support. He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in Physics from Andrews University.
Jason Ackleson is Senior Advisor in the Operations and Requirements Analysis Division of DHS’s S&T. He supports efforts to reduce homeland security risks through optimized innovation, research, and development investments that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DHS’s missions. Prior to his current role, he was Principal Director of Law Enforcement (LE) Policy in DHS’s Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans. He led a team that developed solutions to improve, coordinate, and implement policies across the largest LE Department in the Federal government. He directed enterprise-wide implementation of DHS’s 36 requirements in the Public Safety-Public Trust Executive Order, the most sweeping federal LE reform effort in decades, including writing DHS’s first Body Worn Camera policy and updating its Use of Force guidelines.
Dr. Ackleson led the start-up of the first Federal center to counter transnational organized crime (TOC) through fused intelligence and strategic planning. He managed an interagency team which wrote a whole-of-government strategy to degrade Mexican TOC networks that won unanimous approval from six Cabinet Principals in November 2019. The team pioneered new joint planning approaches to counter threat networks.
As Director of Strategy at DHS from 2016-2018, Dr. Ackleson developed major strategic documents, including the 2018 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), the nation’s homeland security strategy. He also authored key regional and issue-based strategies, including DHS’s Northern Border Strategy. Building on strong relationships with external and internal stakeholders, Dr. Ackleson’s strategic planning work emphasizes driving change by linking strategy to implementation, resourcing, and performance management.
Prior to his role at DHS Headquarters, Dr. Ackleson was Acting Chief of Research and Evaluation at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS is the world’s largest immigration benefits agency, overseeing lawful immigration to the United States. Dr. Ackleson rapidly stood up a team of technical experts to provide data-driven analytical products to inform immigration policymaking by senior agency leadership. This work involved many of the key immigration policy decisions of recent years, such as Executive Action on immigration reform. He directed projects to evaluate and improve U.S. immigration benefit programs, customer service, and agency performance.
Before coming to USCIS, Dr. Ackleson was an Associate Professor of Government. Over 10 years in the academic sector, he published over 25 articles, book chapters, reports and other publications on questions of security, borders, immigration, and globalization. He received and administered over $2 million in externally supported research and education grants. He has taught courses on U.S. national security policy, homeland security policy, foreign policy, international relations, and border security in both academic and practitioner settings. For five years, Dr. Ackleson served as an Associate Dean of an Honors College, successfully transitioning an academic unit into a full college while mentoring top students for prestigious postgraduate scholarships.
Under Harry S Truman and British Marshall scholarships, Dr. Ackleson earned a Ph.D. in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2009-10, he was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the United States Senate, advising Senator Jeff Bingaman on health care, border, and immigration issues. He is a graduate of the Executive Leaders Program at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security and is currently a non-resident Fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. In 2023, he received the DHS Secretary’s Meritorious Service Silver Medal Award for improvements to National Capital Region security.
Jonathan McEntee is currently the Operations and Requirements Analysis Director within DHS S&T’s Office of Science and Engineering. He leads S&T’s Integrated Product Teams to identify, collect, and prioritize research and development (R&D) needs from DHS operational components to inform S&T investments, and manages the collaboration and coordination of R&D investments across DHS. Mr. McEntee also manages S&T’s analytical tool capabilities that provide operations, requirements, and business case decision support services to DHS. Prior to his current position, Mr. McEntee was detailed to the S&T front office as the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Chief of Staff. From 2016-2020, Mr. McEntee was the Acting Borders, Immigration, and Maritime Director for S&T where he worked closely with Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to research, develop, test, and evaluate technical alternatives to meet overall Homeland Security Enterprise capability gap needs. Mr. McEntee was the Deputy Director for S&T’s Borders and Maritime Security Division (BMD) from 2013-2016 and held several Program Manager roles since 2011, which included managing maritime security systems, border information exchange architectures, and cargo security initiatives. Prior to that, he served one year as a DHS Legislative Fellow on Capitol Hill working as an advisor to a U.S. Senator on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. McEntee worked as the Chief of Business Operations for BMD. From 2005 to 2007, Mr. McEntee provided Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance to BMD as a Booz Allen Hamilton employee.
Mr. McEntee also has a background in the Department of Defense working for BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, and AMCORP from 1999-2005. Specifically, Mr. McEntee was the Undersea Warfare Command and Control (USWC2) lead for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Requirements Office. He also acted as a liaison for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Program Executive Office of Integrated Warfare Systems (PEOIWS) in which he provided programmatic, systematic, and financial support for various USW programs.
Mr. McEntee holds a Masters of Business Administration from Salisbury University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Frostburg State University.
Melissa Oh is the Managing Director for DHS S&T Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). She is responsible for engaging entrepreneurs and innovators to help them better understand DHS’s mission and widen the pipeline of technologies addressing our most difficult homeland security challenges.
Ms. Oh has been at S&T since September 2004 serving in several positions, including as the S&T Cyber Security Division Business Operations Manager, S&T Borders & Maritime Security Division Business and Finance Manager, Program Manager for several cargo security projects, and Program Support Contractor. Prior to joining S&T, Ms. Oh served as a project engineer in the Research, Development & Evaluation Branch of the DHS Customs & Border Protection’s Applied Technology Division. Ms. Oh holds a B.S. in Cognitive Science, specializing in Neuroscience, from the University of California at San Diego and a M.S. in Systems Engineering from George Washington University.
John Richardson is the Branch Chief for Requirements Analysis within DHS's S&T. He leads a team that analyzes high-priority capability gaps throughout DHS and refines customer needs that can be resolved through research and development. Prior to joining DHS S&T, Mr. Richardson was the Branch Chief for Resource Planning and Program Analysis at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) where he led analysis of program performance, conducted business process re-engineering, and helped transition the former National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) into CISA.
Marissa Giles serves as an Innovation, Research, and Development Coordination Manager for the Operations and Requirements Analysis Division in the Office of Science and Engineering at DHS S&T. In this role, she is responsible for establishing and implementing processes and forums to enable effective coordination and collaboration of innovation, research, and development across the Department. This includes strategic planning for Department-wide innovation, research, and development to better prepare for the future and posture the Department to more effectively address emerging threats.
Prior to joining the S&T, Ms. Giles served as the Branch Chief for the Research and Development Division in the DHS’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, where she was responsible for developing and leading execution of a portfolio management system for basic, applied, and developmental research and development addressing mission needs in the areas of chemical threat detection, biological threat detection, and radiological/nuclear threat detection, and data analytics. Ms. Giles was a Program Manager in the Transformational and Applied Research Directorate in DHS’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office before that office transitioned to the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office. In this position, she was responsible for effective strategic planning and management of basic and applied research and development of break-through technologies intended to have a dramatic positive impact on the nation’s capabilities to detect nuclear threats.
Prior to joining DHS, Ms. Giles worked for the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a patent examiner in the areas of measurement and testing using optics.
Marissa Giles received a B.S. degree in Physics from Appalachian State University in North Carolina. She earned her M.S. degree in Physics from North Dakota State University while completing a cross-disciplinary degree program in the Department of Physics and the Department of Geosciences. Her thesis work involved radiation measurements of sediments exposed to a simulated Martian spectral environment.
Megan Mahle is the Director of Industry Partnerships at DHS S&T. The role of the Industry Partnerships Division is to lead the formation and sustainment of internal and external partnerships across research and development (R&D) communities. These efforts will enable joint R&D and result in stronger connections with developer and user communities. Industry Partnerships is responsible for innovation mechanisms, such as Small Business Innovation Research, Silicon Valley Innovation Program, Prize Authority, and Broad Agency Announcements, and Post-R&D activities associated with technology transfer and commercialization.
Ms. Mahle has been at S&T since February 2008 serving in several positions, including as the S&T Cyber Security Division (CSD) Business Operations Manager, CSD Program Manager for the Law Enforcement Support portfolio, including the anonymous networks and currencies, cybersecurity forensics and insider threat projects, and program support contractor for the Command, Control and Interoperability Division.
Ms. Mahle holds a bachelor’s degree from Mary Washington College and a master’s degree from Catholic University.