Meet Adam Slagell, ESnet’s New Chief Security Officer


As ESnet’s new chief security officer, Adam Slagell will head the facility’s security team and generate a security strategy for the network. He will also join the organization’s senior leadership team and provide valuable input into the growing network’s strategic direction.

Slagell comes to ESnet from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) where he spent the last 15 years of his career and was promoted several times. After joining NCSA in 2003 as a security engineer, he was promoted to Senior Security Engineer in 2007, then to Senior Security Engineer and Chief Information Security Officer in 2012, Assistant Director of the Cybersecurity Directorate and Chief Information Security Officer in 2013, and Cybersecurity and Networking Division Director and Chief Information Security Officer in 2016.

During this time at NCSA, he also served as principal investigator and co-principal investigator on a number of grants. He was co-PI for the Bro Project in collaboration with researchers in UC Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute and Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division and served as the first chair of the Bro Project’s leadership team. He was also security operations co-lead and the security officer for the XSEDE federation, a single virtual system that scientists can use to interactively share computing resources, data, and expertise; and developed the policies and procedures for the first HIPAA enclave on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

“What brings me to ESnet is a chance to do something new and still be close to open scientific research,” said Slagell. “For most of my career I’ve been focused on data center security, but at ESnet we’re looking at security on a wide area network. We are providing high-bandwidth services to a whole bunch of customers around the world and we have a responsibility to protect those resources.”

Born and raised in Northern Illinois, Slagell received his masters degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003, a masters and bachelors degree in mathematics from Northern Illinois University in 2000 and 1999, respectively.

“I was really ahead of the game in mathematics,” said Slagell. “I was taking college-level math classes in high school and in college I got into cryptography primarily though independent study. This eventually led me to computer security, which I loved because it allowed me to do pure math while staying close to computers, which is something I’ve always been interested in.”

Slagell will be working remotely from Illinois. He is an active power-lifter and biker. He rides his bike 10 miles every day to get to work, even in Illinois winter and summer. In his spare time, he is active in a charity that his wife co-founded called CU Able, which is a support network for families of individuals with disabilities.

Written by Linda Vu