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[ISN] Shortage of computer security experts hampers agencies
[Its great that everyone is looking forward to the future, but what
about the present? I know a number of underemployed/unemployed
security professionals now that would love to work in Government or
Government contracting anywhere in the world, but honestly its pretty
hard to find a job without an existing clearance, or that matter
finding agencies on the prowl for qualified personel.
Would it be too hard to set up a clearinghouse site for information
security resumes, www.computersecurityjobs.gov? Maybe create a
provisional clearance that requires new hires to work two to three
years before getting a clearance that would allow them to move to
another agency or work for a contractor?
I can only hope this stimulates someone to explore these ideas. - WK]
By William New
National Journal's Technology Daily
June 10, 2004
Bush administration officials and information technology industry
experts on Thursday identified areas of cybersecurity that need to be
addressed, including more research and development and the training of
the next generation of cyber experts in government.
"There is an incredibly shrinking pool of IT security professionals in
government," said Jack Johnson, chief security officer at the Homeland
Security Department. "The bench is not just thin; the bench is
non-existent," he added in a sports reference to backup players. "We
need to train the next generation" of IT professionals.
Johnson said Homeland Security does not have the IT workforce to build
the systems it needs and is "absolutely dependent" on help from the
research and academic communities. The department contracts a lot of
work outside government, he said, but there are a limited number of
cleared contractors and high turnover of personnel.
Johnson said he and Homeland Security Chief Information Officer Steve
Cooper decided soon after the department's creation last year that
Johnson would handle the classified material and Cooper the
unclassified. Johnson is working on developing the Homeland Security
Information Network, which he said would be at Defense Department
"secret level" by year's end. He also said Homeland Security is
looking to redesign personnel security to prevent internal cyber
Thomas O'Keefe, deputy director of the Federal Aviation Administration
office of information systems security, said more research and
development, and more collaboration among researchers and industry, is
needed on cybersecurity.
"The sharing amongst bad guys is growing," he said at a
SecureE-Biz.net conference. "The sharing amongst the good guys on
procurement, technology and approach needs to grow at an equal or
greater rate. My observation is we're just not as good at it."
O'Keefe said firms are reluctant to mention their vulnerabilities
because it may "unnecessarily put concern in people's minds." His
office is working with the National Science Foundation to boost
cyber-security research, as it is "still very small," he said. He and
others on the panel predicted continually growing cyber attacks.
"You've got to expect cyber storms," he said.
The president last year signed a law authorizing a significant
increase in cyber-security R&D funding, but it was not requested in
the fiscal 2005 White House budget proposal.
O'Keefe also said the nation's air-traffic control system does not
have viral outbreaks. The air-traffic network is completely separate
from the Internet, as well as other aspects of the FAA network, making
it impossible for viruses to spread from those sources, he said.
The modernization of the air-traffic network will include putting it
on Internet protocol, though still not tying it to the Internet, and
the agency will subject it to intensive testing and structuring for
security, he said. That certification process can be applied to all
new technologies, he added.
Tom Kupiec of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency said
incentives are needed for telecommunications and electricity companies
to make network functions more redundant.
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