The cyber workforce, the next generation of cyber leaders
As technology continues to evolve and improve, the need to protect against evolving cyber threats also requires improvement and expansion. To meet the growing technological needs of government and industry, the Department of Homeland Security is building strong cybersecurity career paths within the Department and in partnership with other government agencies. In order to ensure that the next generation of cyber leaders is prepared to protect against cyber threats, it is crucial that we help to prepare them. To accomplish this critical task, we have created a number of very competitive scholarship, fellowship, and internship programs to attract top talent. As the agency responsible for securing federal civilian networks, DHS works closely with its partners in the private sector and federal, state and local governments to educate and engage the next generation of cyber professionals.
During the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, DHS remains committed to building and sustaining a world-class cybersecurity team by hiring and retaining a diverse workforce with experience in information technology, computer science, network and computer engineering, information assurance, and program management.
In addition, through the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, DHS works with universities to attract top talent through competitive scholarship, fellowship, and internship programs. Other DHS cybersecurity education and workforce initiatives include:
• National Centers of Academic Excellence: Certification of more than 125 institutions nationwide as National Centers for Academic Excellence to teach students valuable technical skills in various disciplines of information assurance.
• Cybersecurity Lesson Plans: DHS provides lesson plans about the importance of preventing cyber crimes at home and in the classroom.
• IT Security Essential Body of Knowledge: DHS developed the EBK to establish a national baseline of the essential knowledge and skills that IT security practitioners in the public and private sector should have to perform specific roles and responsibilities.
• Cybersecurity Internship Program: DHS offers undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to work alongside cyber leaders in the department to help in the analysis of malicious code, forensics analysis, incident handling, intrusion detection and prevention, and software assurance.
• National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies: NICCS is an online resource for cybersecurity career, education, and training information.
DHS continues to promote educational programs for those who are already working in cybersecurity as well as those who are still in school. Since it was established in March 2013, the Cyber- Skills Management Support Initiative has implemented several key outreach and recruitment programs including monthly NCCIC tours and panel discussions for interested students, DHS leadership participation in cybersecurity competitions, and the establishment of an internship program for students at ICE forensics labs nationwide.
• The Secretary’s Honors Program Volunteer Cyber Student Initiative, which reports that 21 candidates from 13 states have reported to their assigned ICE/HSI field offices, offers two-year community college students majoring in a cybersecurity related field an unpaid student volunteer position to gain invaluable handson experience at ICE/HIS computer forensics labs. The program was tailored to provide high-performing students with challenging work projects, real-life learning scenarios, and mentoring from cybersecurity professionals at ICE.
• The Fusion Center Cyber Student Initiative, which reports that 10 student interns from three states have participated in the cyber program, is tailored to provide highachieving college interns with a unique glimpse into how state and local law enforcement officials use technology and implement cybersecurity best practices
• The Cybersecurity Veteran’s Hiring Pilot, which is currently working to fill 12 vacancies, aims to build the nation’s cyber workforce pipeline and enhance opportunities for veterans to be trained, educated, and hired for mission critical cybersecurity jobs. It leverages open vacancies at DHS using competitive and direct hire authorities.
We have made it a priority to provide those on the frontlines with the information, tools, and resources necessary to reduce the cyber risk to our nation.