Task Force to DHS: Keep Mission-Critical Jobs In House

October 18, 2012

Department of Homeland Security contractors, not DHS employees, have most of the “cool” jobs in cybersecurity — hacking into systems and networks and assessing whether they can withstand sophisticated attacks, “the jobs that are right at the interface between the bad guys and the good guys.”

That’s one of the conclusions of Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute and co-chairman of DHS’ Cyberskills task force, which this month recommended that the department hire about 600 of its own cybersecurity experts with these mission-critical skills. The task force had broad access inside DHS and spent hours in confidential meetings to assess the size and abilities of DHS’current cyber workforce. The task force also urged DHS to:

• Establish a pilot DHS CyberReserve program that ensures cyber experts within DHS and outside government are readily available to DHS in times of need.

• Create a two-year, community-college-based program that identifies and trains people for mission-critical cybersecurity jobs.

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