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National Defense: Government, Military Face Severe Shortage of Cybersecurity Experts

Authors: Eric Beidel, and Stew Magnuson
July 19, 2011

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“It takes a network to defeat a network,” military leaders were fond of saying as they went after insurgents in Iraq. But there are other enemies out there who operate unseen and are attacking the United States. Cyberspies, hackers, and others using the Internet for nefarious purposes also operate in networks.

China, Iran and Russia host untold numbers of hackers. Whether they are state-sponsored or not is a matter of conjecture, but what is known is that they are relentless. U.S. military and civilian agencies are attempting to counter nonstop computer attacks and intrusions.

But do they have a network to counter them? There is an acute shortage of Internet security experts in the government, and no large pool of applicants waiting in the wings to join the fight.

“We need to be on the cutting edge with everyone else, from the teenager to the terrorist,” Lt. Gen. Michael Basia, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, said at the Space Foundation's Cyber 1.1 conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., earlier this year. “For this domain, big brains are more important than big guns or big brawn.”

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