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Blaine Burnham


Ph.D. (Mathematics)


Dr. Blaine Burnham is a Professor at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, where he is responsible for the development and administration of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Master of Cyber Security degree. Dr. Burnham additionally assists with academic development of professional education and outreach opportunities through business, industry and government. In this arena, he has led the development of curriculum for such organizations as the FBI, InfraGard, AeroSpace and a host of other law enforcement agencies. Dr. Burnham’s primary research interests have been focused on the challenges of implementing very high assurance security designed to address the problems of adversarial attacks that include software subversion.

Prior to joining USC, Dr. Burnham worked for eleven years at the National Security Agency, where he held various management positions surrounding information assurance and cyber security research. Dr. Burnham directed and managed the Infosec Criteria and Guidelines Organization and was responsible for the publishing of half of the guideline documents, commonly referred to as the Rainbow Series. Perhaps most notably, he was responsible for crafting the Federal Criteria successor to the Trusted Computer Security Evaluations Criteria, also known as The Orange Book.

While at NSA, Dr. Burnham served as Chief of the Commercial COMSEC Endorsement Program and Trusted Products Division, as well as creating and developing the Product Security Profile. In 1994, Dr. Burnham took over direction of the Infosec Research Organization, which established the information security research agenda for the NSA. During his tenure, he established the University Research Program, which led to cyber security as an academic offering at universities and provided start-up funding for several of what now are the nation’s top Information Assurance programs. The research agenda Dr. Burnham initiated gave support for the development of the intrusion detection system industry and the creation of IPSEC.

Dr. Burnham’s final assignment with NSA was establishing, promoting and sustaining the Information Security Research Council for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community as a whole. This was the first attempt in our nation’s history to galvanize all government organizations under one banner for cyber security research, and as such has led to numerous collateral efforts and spin-offs that have contributed billions of dollars to developing literally hundreds of innovations in computer security.

After retiring from the NSA, Dr. Burnham accepted a position at the Georgia Institute of Technology as Director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. Consistently ranked as one of the best cyber security programs in the world, Dr. Burnham was responsible for leading the GTISC in its infancy, laying the foundation for success by developing the research direction for the Center, forming the laboratories, creating a Masters Degree program and initiating industry and government partnerships for access and funding.

Dr. Burnham left Georgia Tech to begin a new cyber security program at the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska University Center on Information Assurance (NUCIA), serving as the founding Executive Director. During his time directing NUCIA, Dr. Burnham built undergraduate, Master’s and Doctoral level degree programs, and led one of the largest information assurance outreach programs in the country, with over 250 industry and government participants.

Dr. Burnham has been employed at Idaho, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. He is a member of the Cyber Crimes Task Force, IEEE and the InfraGard Executive Committee, and served as the technical advisor for the US delegation to the NATO Office of Security, Technical Working Group. He also served on the Advisory Board (SAG) to US STRATEGIC COMMAND under five of its last Commanders.