[ISN] Cyber service not a 'great deal'

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Apr 23 2002 - 22:48:46 PDT

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    By Graeme Browning 
    April 23, 2002
    An 18-month-old scholarship program designed to encourage college 
    students to work for the federal government as information security 
    professionals after graduation provides so few real-world incentives 
    that it's almost counterproductive, some noted academics in the 
    computer security field said recently.
    The National Science Foundation's Scholarship for Service is "a 
    wonderful idea, with the emphasis on the word 'idea,' " said Matt 
    Bishop, a computer science professor at the University of California, 
    Davis, who specializes in the design of secure systems.
    The program offers two-year scholarships to students who commit to 
    serving in government security positions for two years as part of the 
    Federal Cyber Service. It originally was modeled after the Reserve 
    Officers Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship program, said Blaine 
    Burnham, founding director of the Nebraska University Consortium on 
    Information Assurance (NUCIA) and a former information security expert 
    for the National Security Agency.
    "But the federal government invested a lot of money to get ROTC 
    going," Burnham said. In addition, with universities nationwide 
    lacking information security specialists, "where are you going to get 
    the faculty" to teach it?
    Bishop and Burnham spoke April 22 at Infotec 2002, an information 
    security conference in Omaha, Nebraska, sponsored by NUCIA and the 
    Association of Information Technology Professionals.
    UC-Davis, which has one of the premier computer security faculties in 
    the country, did not apply to become one of the schools participating 
    in the Scholarship for Service program because officials were not 
    certain that enough students would sign up to justify investing 
    precious funding, Bishop said.
    Government salaries are so low in comparison to the salaries that 
    security professionals can make in industry that students prefer to 
    take out tuition loans and repay them after graduation instead of 
    accepting the scholarship, he added. "They just don't see [the 
    Scholarship for Service program] as that great a deal," he said.
    Besides raising pay levels for graduates of the program, the NSF also 
    should vary the requirements for the scholarship and the commitments 
    required after graduation, Bishop and Burnham said. Some students, for 
    example, want to work for the Defense Department and would be more 
    interested in the scholarships if they weren't required to work in 
    civilian agencies, the professors noted.
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