Auburn taps prominent cybersecurity expert to lead research for McCrary Institute

Published: Dec 14, 2020 6:00 AM

By Matthew Edwards

Marcus Sachs, a security executive with nearly 40 years of public and private sector professional experience, was announced today as the McCrary Institute’s deputy director for research.

Sachs, whose appointment was effective Dec. 1, will lead, coordinate and expand the institute’s cyber and critical infrastructure security research portfolio. He will initially serve as Auburn’s principal investigator supporting a multi-institution initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a national network of institutes that will educate and train dynamic and diverse cybersecurity professionals.

“Marc has decades of experience in the cybersecurity arena and is a crucial addition to our team to lead such an important endeavor,” said Frank Cilluffo, McCrary Institute director. “Having Marc spearhead our research and training efforts bolsters our commitment to safeguarding our nation’s critical infrastructure.”

The McCrary Institute, based in Auburn with additional centers in Washington, D.C., and Huntsville, seeks practical solutions to pressing challenges in the areas of cyber and critical infrastructure security. Through its three hubs, the institute offers end-to-end capability – policy, research and education – on all things cyber related.

Sachs retired from the U.S. Army in January 2002 after serving a distinguished 20-year career as a corps of engineers and systems automation officer. After his military retirement, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve in the White House Office of Cyberspace Security. In May 2003, Sachs joined DHS as the first cyber program director, where he was responsible for developing the implementation plan for the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.

Sachs’ private sector experience includes serving as the deputy director of SRI International’s Computer Science laboratory, as the vice president for national security policy at Verizon and as the senior vice president and chief security officer of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

“The McCrary Institute has enabled Auburn to play an increasing role in protecting U.S. cyber and critical infrastructure,” said Steve Taylor, engineering associate dean for research. “Marc’s subject matter expertise will help propel Auburn’s cybersecurity research to the next level of national leadership.”

Sachs has held leadership roles in multiple public/private advisory working groups and task forces including the Executive Committee of the U.S. Communications Sector Coordinating Council and the Communications Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Comm-ISAC).

The McCrary Institute is named in honor of former Alabama Power Co. president and CEO Charles D. McCrary, a 1973 Auburn graduate in mechanical engineering. McCrary, who retired in 2014 after a 40-year career with Alabama Power, has served on the Auburn University Board of Trustees as an at-large member since 2004.

Media Contact: Austin Phillips,, 334-844-2444
Marcus Sachs

Marcus Sachs

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