11 Recommendations for a Safer Tomorrow

With professionals skilled in cybersecurity at a premium, government agencies often compete with one another recruiting individuals for the high-profile task of protecting our national infrastructure from cyber attack. As such, the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Task Force on Cyber Skills released 11 recommendations to help the Department of Homeland Security obtain individuals with the skills necessary to perform this critical function, according to www.nextgov.com. The recommendations were:

1. Develop and maintain a list of cybersecurity jobs critical to the security of our nation’s assets. Furthermore, they should modify that list as more threats and technology are brought to the forefront.

2. Come up with scenarios to evaluate talent for cybersecurity jobs, especially training scenarios for tasks critical to the mission at hand.

3. Develop a way to assess the continuing abilities and the progress in those abilities of current and future individuals with cybersecurity skills.

4. Institute a department-level infrastructure to observe the development of a workforce proficient in cybersecurity.

5. Make government cybersecurity jobs more enticing by offering individuals the ability to improve their skills and the potential to grow within the ranks of the agency. The hiring process should likewise be streamlined and play a major role in recruitment.

6. Develop a two-year community college program designed to find new talent and train them in the skills necessary for current in-demand jobs.

7. Increase the eligibility requirements for schools that take part in the Centers for Academic Excellence, as well as Scholarships for Service programs. This ensures that only the best will make it through for the more high-demand cybersecurity jobs.

8. Attempt to hire and train U.S. veterans for mission critical cybersecurity jobs and tasks. This should be done through an initiative to enhance the opportunities these veterans have for this type of work.

9. Until such a time as at least 600 individuals are on board as cybersecurity workers, the DHS should use its direct hiring authority to hire people with critical cyber skills.

10. When hiring for cybersecurity-related contracts, specify the level of proficiency and skills needed.

11. Develop a DHS CyberReserve program so that former DHS cybersecurity workers, as well as other cybersecurity professionals outside of government agencies, are kept track of in case they are needed in a crisis.

Experts believe that by following these recommendations, the DHS should be able to develop an adequate cybersecurity organization to better protect our nation’s vital infrastructure.

For more information about how the DHS can develop adequate cybersecurity in the U.S., visit:
http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/wired-workplace/2012/10/eleven-tips-building-stronger-cybersecurity-workforce/58564/?oref=ng-HPriver