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Cyber Boot Camp

Author: Robert K. Knake, Senior Fellow for Cyber Policy
November 5, 2009
Government Security News

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The Department of Homeland Security recently announced plans to hire 1,000 cyber security experts over the next three years. The decision signals the seriousness with which DHS takes the cyber threat. But there is a problem. DHS stands no chance of meeting its goal.

In the past, DHS has had a poor track record of attracting talent to the department, particularly in technical fields. Few competent professionals already within the federal ranks want to go to DHS. Recruiting in the private sector is equally hopeless. No bag of incentives that DHS can possibly offer can compete with pay and performance packages available in the private sector, where demand for skilled services continues to increase even in the down economy. I have yet to meet an out-of-work cyber security expert, and when I do, I doubt he will be able to get a security clearance.

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced plans to hire 1,000 cyber security experts over the next three years. The decision signals the seriousness with which DHS takes the cyber threat. But there is a problem. DHS stands no chance of meeting its goal.

In the past, DHS has had a poor track record of attracting talent to the department, particularly in technical fields. Few competent professionals already within the federal ranks want to go to DHS. Recruiting in the private sector is equally hopeless. No bag of incentives that DHS can possibly offer can compete with pay and performance packages available in the private sector, where demand for skilled services continues to increase even in the down economy. I have yet to meet an out-of-work cyber security expert, and when I do, I doubt he will be able to get a security clearance.

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