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FCW : October 30, 2013
October 30, 2013 FCW.COM 19 ing partnerships with high schools, colleges and universities to groom tomorrow s cybersecurity workforce," said Evan Lesser, managing director of ClearanceJobs.com. "The govern- ment is woefully underprepared with its cybersecurity workforce. The fact is, government and contractor com- puter networks are under attack 24/7/365. Additionally, with the elds of cybersecurity, cyber response and cyberattacks changing rapidly, any workforce the government does have must be regularly trained so their skills are updated." Building the workforce of today --- and tomorrow One of the most critical reasons for gaps in the ranks is the lack of clearly de ned roles. "Cybersecurity" covers a wide range of job functions, from ana- lysts to hardware technicians. "One of the rst things at the high level is actually de ning what it is you want this person to do because it s not as broad as it s sometimes made out to be when you just say cybersecurity career eld, " said Howard Schmidt, formerly White House cybersecu- rity coordinator and now executive director of SAFECode and a partner at Ridge-Schmidt Cyber. "Part of that is requirements management: What exactly do you need to serve your mis- sion, and also [what are] the skill sets to make sure your business processes can be implemented?" Government agencies are mak- ing progress in that regard. In a joint effort, the White House s Of ce of Sci- ence and Technology Policy, the Chief Human Capital Of cers Council, the CIO Council and the Of ce of Person- nel Management are creating a data- base of statistical information related to existing and future cybersecurity positions. It is due by the end of s- cal 2014. "The new databank will enable agen- cies to identify and address their needs for cybersecurity skill sets to meet their missions," a July 8 OPM memo states. "This particular work function has extensively changed over the last decade, and these revisions provide consistency and a common language in describing the skill sets needed to perform the work successfully." Still, even after those missions and requirements are defined, agencies will likely face an uphill battle when it comes to attracting talent. Top of cials freely admit that the government can- not compete with private-sector pay at either the entry level or the top end of the scale. And one of the primary advantages of federal employment --- the relative security of government jobs --- has been called into question by pay freezes, budget cuts, and the inability of Congress and the president to agree on scal 2014 funding. The uncertainty could steer some potential stars away from a career in the public sector. "Our students have always been will- ing to make the trade-off in terms of starting salary, but it s dif cult to take an additional risk of [not] knowing if you re going to be paid at all," said Don Kettl, dean of the University of Mary- land s School of Public Policy. But many experts say salary is not the chief motivator for the next-gener- ation cybersecurity workforce. According to a recent survey by SemperSecure, a public/private cyber- security initiative by the state of Vir- ginia, just one in four of today s cyber- security professionals cite salary and bene ts as a top interest. More than half said they seek interesting, chal- lenging work, and 44 percent want "important and meaningful work." Numerous sources agreed that appealing to a prospective employee s sense of duty and patriotism is the key to federal recruiting. "It s not just compensation, but also a sense of contribution and own- ership," Schmidt said. "The government has no endless supply of incentives, but...people enjoy doing something where they have a sense of ownership." Lesser agreed, adding that agencies should also highlight the bene ts of government employment and play to candidates love of technology --- an interest cited by 39 percent of respon- Dissension in the ranks? Former White House Cybersecu- rity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said Congress inability to pass legislation that would better de ne agencies cybersecurity roles should not be a serious problem, despite a tug of war over who is in charge. "I think the [cybersecurity] exec- utive order has clari ed some of those leadership issues," Schmidt said. It is generally agreed that the Department of Homeland Security supports the private sector when it comes to critical infrastructure; the Defense Department and the National Security Agency work with the defense industrial base and defense entities, including some parts of the intelligence community; and the FBI handles law enforcement and counterintelligence. In terms of legislation, the House has passed a bill aimed at lowering the barriers for sharing information between the private sector and the government, but a broader Senate bill has gone nowhere. Schmidt said he believes agen- cies can get along ne without Congress delineating their cyberse- curity responsibilities. "By all accounts, there s a con- sensus that the role in domestic things is clear: If somebody hacks into a power company [and] dis- rupts the electrical ow, the FBI would take the lead on the criminal aspect of that unless it s a nation- state...and then the rules are differ- ent," he said. "We see more debate than is necessary on this. Let s solve the problem of who gets to worry about their side of the ledger because it s pretty clear." --- Amber Corrin
September 30, 2013
November 15, 2013