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Government Should Help Widen Cyber Knowledge


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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security should be doing more to recruit top cyber security talent and develop a highly skilled workforce of cyber security workers who are at the front lines of protecting federal computer networks from attacks. While there are some signs that government leaders within the Department of Homeland Security are starting to pay closer attention to the cyber workforce, a recent study by the Partnership for Public Service found broad agreement among federal officials and outside experts that the government has a serious shortage of technically sophisticated professionals capable of combating the growing cyber threat from hackers, criminals, foreign governments and terrorist organizations. The time is overdue for the government to commit the resources and exert the leadership to build and nurture a highly skilled cyber workforce.

Within the federal government, there has been a lack of high-level leadership, with no one in charge of assessing and planning government-wide workforce needs. Experts claim the government has an outdated job classification system, little training for workers to upgrade their skills, and no career path or uniform technical certification system for cyber-security specialists. Against that backdrop, attacks on government civilian computer networks tripled between 2006 and 2008. Federal IT leaders report difficulty finding, hiring and retaining qualified cyber-security experts in many specialties including computer network engineering, forensics, software development, defense, vulnerability and protocol analysis, intrusion detection, and, in the case of the military and intelligence communities, digital exploitation and attack.

From Federal Times
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