Michael G. Masters serves in an Of Counsel role with The Soufan Group and Soufan Group Strategies, and as the President of The Soufan Center. Masters also serves as the National Director of the Secure Community Network, the national homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and as a Senior Advisor to CivicScape, an advanced analytics company that provides risk assessments to public and private sector entities.
Masters previously served as the Executive Director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Cook County, Illinois. In that capacity, Mr. Masters was responsible for coordinating and maintaining the homeland security and emergency management system across the second largest Urban Area in the United States, serving 5.4 million people over 940 square miles.
Under Masters’ leadership, the Department developed comprehensive planning, information-sharing, operations, logistics, training, cyber security and grants management programs. With a mission-oriented record of success at organizational design efforts, team building and process optimization in both mid- and large-size organizations, Masters quickly built the Department into a nationally recognized best practice agency.
Widely recognized for its emphasis on training and exercise, the Department implemented one of the most extensive federally grant funded training and exercise programs – reaching over 9200 first responders annually – in the nation. This included efforts to counter violent extremism, address active threat scenarios, and protect critical infrastructure as well as communal spaces, such as schools and houses of worship, as well as train residents in resiliency.
Masters also implemented and oversaw one of the largest cyber-security programs of any local government in the United States, creating a ground-up best practice cyber program that included investments in hardware, software and training, as well as the development of key architecture and infrastructure to protect critical resources, assets and data.
Masters serves on the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Foreign Fighter Task Force, the Faith Based Security and Communications Committee and supported the Department’s Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee as well as served as the Vice-Chair of the Grants Review Task Force. He previously served on the Executive Board of the FBI’s Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force.
From 2008-2011, Masters served as the Chief of Staff for the Chicago Police Department, helping to direct the policy, operations and strategy of the second largest local law enforcement agency in the United States. During his tenure as Chief of Staff, the Department saw twenty-six months of continuous crime reduction and the lowest homicide rate in the City of Chicago in forty-five years, up to that point.
A Truman and a Gates Cambridge Trust Scholar, Masters received his Bachelor of Arts in History with highest honors from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Philosophy degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. A Heyman Fellow and Dean’s Award recipient for community leadership, Masters received his J.D. Harvard Law School where his research focused on legal issues related to terrorism and public corruption and where he served as managing editor for the Harvard International Law Journal.
Masters also served as an assistant to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley for public safety, overseeing public safety policy and operations for the City of Chicago, and acting as a liaison to the Chicago Police and Fire departments and the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Masters has worked with the Washington D.C.-based Partnership for Public Service and with the United States Attorney’s Office, also in Washington, D.C.
Masters has held faculty appointments at both the John Marshall School of Law and at Northeastern University.
Certified as a peace officer and a Special Weapons and Tactics operator, Mr. Masters continues to serve his community as a part-time police officer. Mr. Masters received an officer’s commission in the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of Captain.