In an effort to embolden the next generation of cyber professionals, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is devising an initiative to encourage and equip young Americans with knowledge and skills in the science of cybersecurity. Writing a blog entitled, “Inspiring the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a plan to extend “the scope of cyber education” beyond the federal labor force through the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, targeting students from kindergarten all the way up to post-graduate school.
In detailing the plan, the DHS emphasizes the need to educate young Americans about technology — primarily for the use of cybersecurity — alongside the traditional subjects of science, engineering, mathematics, reading, and writing.
Napolitano spoke at the Women in International Security conference on Thursday, hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, about what she branded as one of the “most urgent and important issues facing our nation — cybersecurity.” She explained how her agency was formulating a cyber-workforce composed of skilled and highly-qualified workers to contrive innovative techniques to combat this plaguing issue. The DHS Secretary wrote of the agency’s goals:
At DHS, we’re working to develop the next generation of leaders in cybersecurity while fostering an environment for talented staff to grow in this field. We are building strong cybersecurity career paths within the Department, and in partnership with other government agencies. We are also creating training and development opportunities to retain our most talented employees and ensure their professional development. In collaboration with the National Security Agency, we are strengthening the nation’s educational infrastructure by supporting Centers of Academic Excellence across the country.
The DHS is also sponsoring the U.S. Cyber Challenge, Napolitano added, “a program that works with academia and the private sector to identify and develop the best and brightest cyber talent to meet our nation’s growing and changing security needs.” The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) notes that the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education are heading the Formal Cybersecurity Education Component.
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