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About the Federal Identity Forum & Expo Planning Committee

GIS Panel ImageThe Planning Committee for the Federal Identity Forum & Expo consists of senior officials representing federal departments or cross-agency administration priorities, plus representatives from the private sector and academia. They develop the top-level strategic plan for the Federal Identity Forum & Expo using their knowledge and experiences, as well as input received from peers. They then identify session moderators and task them to develop a plan that meets the Planning Committee’s objectives for the session. Finally, they provide oversight of moderators’ work, develop the remainder of the agenda (such as keynotes and special events), and have the overall responsibility of ensuring that the Federal Identity Forum meets the outreach and collaboration-building needs of the federal government and identity community.


Combiz Abdolrahimi

Combiz AbdolrahimiCombiz Richard Abdolrahimi is a national security lawyer, banking & financial services regulation/policy expert, and serves as a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He develops and coordinates financial regulatory and policy development in several areas including identity. He serves as Treasury’s Representative to the FedID Planning Committee. In this role, he is responsible for bringing a unified voice to key identity issues important to Treasury and its different components, offices and bureaus. He is also responsible for supporting Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s participation in FedID. He also facilitates relationships with key stakeholders, and provides leadership on public-private partnerships, strategic planning, and collaboration.

He has served continuously in the Federal Government for ten years since he was 19 years old; and he has worked on public policy, regulatory, legislative, government relations, and political matters as well as global engagement. He joined Treasury after serving in the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for PSI. Prior to joining Congress, he served in The White House Office of Political Affairs, and spent four years at the U.S. Department of State in Los Angeles, receiving commendations from Republican and Democratic leadership.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of immigrants, Mr. Abdolrahimi’s first job was working the cash register for his family’s small business—at the age of 12. He is a graduate of UCLA; American University of Beirut in Lebanon; and Georgetown University Law Center, receiving his B.A., J.D. and LL.M. in national security. Mr. Abdolrahimi speaks several languages critical to U.S. interests, such as Turkish, Persian, Dari, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Uzbek, and has a working proficiency in Spanish. He aspires to follow in the footsteps of an American hero and his mentor, Ambassador Col. Charles W. Hostler, USAF (ret.), and serve as our country’s Ambassador.

Tom Callaghan
Chief Biometric Scientist

Gary Cantrell
Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Health & Human Services

Gary Cantrell As the Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Gary Cantrell leads the Office of Investigations (OI)within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG). Since 2012, he has been overseeing the operations and resources of OI, an office with more than 600 employees including investigators, analysts, forensic examiners, and administrative staff. Under Mr. Cantrell’s leadership, OI has had record accomplishments with nearly 6,800 criminal and civil actions, more than 18,000 exclusions, and over $21 billion in investigative receivables.
Through his engagement with the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), Mr. Cantrell coordinates with the Department of Justice and State law enforcement agencies to prevent fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In June 2016, this partnership oversaw the largest national health care fraud takedown in history, resulting in charges against 301 individuals for approximately $900 million in false billing.
Mr. Cantrell also engages extensively with the private sector to prevent and detect fraud in health care. He serves on the Board of Directors for the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, represents OIG on the Health Care Fraud Prevention Partnership, and frequently speaks on the topic of health care fraud before numerous private associations.
Mr. Cantrell began his career with OI in 1996 as a Special Agent in the Atlanta Regional Office and has since served in a variety of leadership positions in OIG. He holds bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University and in Computer and Information Science from the University of Maryland University College. He is a co-recipient of two Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) awards for Excellence in Information Technology and of numerous HHS OIG awards.

Will Graves
Department of Defense  

Will GravesWilliam Graves serves as the Chief Engineer for PM DoD Biometrics in the Technical Management Division. Mr. Graves is the subject matter expert on various Identity Management Information technologies specializing on biometrics associated standards and technologies such as capture or matching solutions, technical innovation and improvement, strategic planning and requirement management, as well as, budgeting and acquisition management.

Mr. Graves served as the Chief Biometric Engineer for DHS primary biometrics system within NPPD US-VISIT and was responsible for the development of overall DHS biometrics standards, technical assistance to foreign governments, and leading the adoption of innovative technologies that impacted mission related programs. He was responsible for national and international biometrics data sharing initiatives, budget formulation and execution, information systems security, data architecture and data management.

Mr. Graves also served as chair of the INCITS M1.6 Task Group on Cross-Jurisdictional and Societal Aspects of Biometrics, and Biometric Functional Architecture and Related Profiles. In addition, he represented US-VISIT's interests as an active member of the National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) Subcommittee on Biometrics and Identity Management, and founded and co-chaired the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Biometrics Domain

Paul Grassi
Senior Standards and Technology Advisor
National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

Paul GrassiPaul Grassi is the Senior Standards and Technology Advisor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He joined NIST in June, 2014 to advance and accelerate the development and adoption of identity related standards and technologies needed to implement the identity ecosystem envisioned in the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC).

Mr. Grassi comes to NIST with a broad background of technology and management consulting, and significant experience developing enterprise security strategies and systems, having served a range of Fortune 500 companies, as well as domestic and foreign governments. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Kevin Mangold
Computer Scientist
National Institute of Standards and Technology Defense

Brett McDowell
Executive Director
The FIDO Alliance

Brett McDowellBrett McDowell is the Executive Director of the FIDO Alliance, the organization he helped establish in 2012 to remove the world’s dependency on passwords through open standards for strong authentication. Mr. McDowell manages the strategic direction of the FIDO Alliance and coordinates its liaison activities with numerous external industry groups, standards bodies and government agencies worldwide. Previously, Mr. McDowell was Head of Ecosystem Security at PayPal, where he developed strategies, lead initiatives, and spearheaded their authentication strategy to make the Internet safer for PayPal and their customers. He and his team drove several open standards and won a CSO40 award for innovation in authentication. Mr. McDowell has held several leadership positions including founding Management Council Chairman for the NSTIC IDESG, co-founder and Chairman of, Treasurer for the National Cyber Security Alliance, Secretary for, and Vice President for FIDO Alliance. Prior to joining PayPal in 2010, Mr. McDowell managed a number of IEEE-ISTO initiatives, serving as Executive Director for Kantara Initiative, Liberty Alliance Project, and VoiceXML Forum. Mr. McDowell has extensive industry standards experience having worked with IETF, ISO, ITU-T, ANSI, OASIS, W3C, IEEE and the ETSI ICT Standards Board.

Stephanie Schuckers
Clarkson University  

Dr. Stephanie Schuckers is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clarkson University and serves as the Director of the Center of Identification Technology Research (CITeR), a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. Professor Schuckers research focuses on processing and interpreting signals which arise from the human body. She is currently the Vice President for Finances for the IEEE Biometrics Council and served as a consultant for the Army Science Board. She has started her own business, and has over 25 journal publications as well as over 40 other academic publications.

Don Thibeau
Executive Director
The Open ID Foundation 

Don is President and Chairman of the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) a non-profit organization of global leaders from competing sectors, including enterprise, data services, telecommunications, consulting services, SaaS, banking, retail and government. OIX has become a register for the identity trust layer of online transactions serving as a test bed for business, legal and governance policies in the emerging identity ecosystem.
Don is also the Executive Director of the OpenID Foundation, where he leads a standards development organization focued on Internet identity. The foundation’s membership is comprised of industry leaders that collaborate on the development, adoption and deployment of open identity standards. Don tweets @ 4Thibeau and blogs at

Patty Wolfhope
Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology  

Patty WolfhopeMs. Wolfhope is a Program Manager within the Resilient Systems Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Directorate for Science and Technology. Ms. Wolfhope manages and transitions biometric systems and is responsible for developing, integrating, testing, and delivering biometric solutions to Federal, State and local end users. Specifically, she has current programs in mobile biometrics, non-cooperative biometrics and conformance & performance testing of multiple biometric systems. She has successfully pilot tested a host of mobile devices with DHS Federal partners including ICE, CBP and USCG and 12 State and local law enforcement agencies in the United States.


Ben Smith
Manager, Homeland Security
AFCEA International  

Ben SMithBen has been at AFCEA for nearly 20 years and was selected as its first Manager of Homeland Security in October 2012. In addition to managing several defense, national security, and technology events, he also oversees AFCEA's Cyber and Homeland Security Committees.

Outside of the office, Ben is an avid cyclist, having twice ridden the length of the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath from Pittsburgh to Washington as part of AFCEA's Cycle for STEM educational fundraiser. He also serves on the Trails and Blueways Council, an advisory committee which provides guidance to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors on the development and maintenance of a county-wide system of trails and streams.

Duane Blackburn
Science and Technology Policy Analyst
Center for National Security
The MITRE Corporation

Duane BlackburnMr. Blackburn joined MITRE (a not-for-profit operator of Federally Funded Research and Development Centers) in November of 2011, where he provides technical, strategic, and policy guidance to a number of federal government organizations and MITRE executives.

Mr. Blackburn’s most recent prior appointment was in White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (2004-2011), where he served as the Assistant Director for Identity Management and Homeland Security. In this senior-level, non-political, position he was responsible for the federal government's identity management and homeland security S&T enterprises. His work can be grouped into two broad categories: first, to lead the coordination of the executive branch's S&T activities on multiple priority topics for the administration (biometrics, identity management, forensic science, explosives, human factors and overall homeland security S&T strategy) through the National Science and Technology Council; second, to serve as the primary S&T official on operational policy development/setting activities of the White House on all USG identity and homeland security matters (outside CBRN), such as Assistant Secretarylevel Interagency Policy Committees of the Homeland and National Security Councils.

While at OSTP, Mr. Blackburn influenced the conceptualization and implementation of national policies and federal systems during a period of transformation unprecedented in the nation’s history. He has unparalleled experience leading interagency teams of senior federal officials and appointees in the development and implementation of whole-of-government S&T strategies within the homeland security and identity management enterprises. He was also a respected thought leader, consensus-builder, trusted advisor, and mentor in the field of biometrics, having led the community’s maturation into serving a foundational role in law enforcement and homeland/national security missions.

Prior to joining OSTP, Mr. Blackburn served as a RDT&E program manager at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Institute of Justice and the DoD Counterdrug Technology Development Program Office. He was a finalist for a 2002 Service to America Medal, established and led an interagency team that received the 2009 National Intelligence Certificate of Distinction, and was the executive producer of a strategic communications campaign that received a 2012 Communicator Award of Excellence from the International Academy of Visual Arts. He was one of twelve individuals, selected based on results of a targeted analysis, whose leadership approach was studied by the Partnership for Public Service to identify the critical attributes found within the nation’s highest-performing public servants.

Mr. Blackburn holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech, and has developed and delivered leadership courses at the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Executive Institute.