[ISN] Shortage of computer security experts hampers agencies

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Fri Jun 11 2004 - 03:21:24 PDT

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    [Its great that everyone is looking forward to the future, but what
    about the present? I know a number of underemployed/unemployed
    security professionals now that would love to work in Government or
    Government contracting anywhere in the world, but honestly its pretty
    hard to find a job without an existing clearance, or that matter 
    finding agencies on the prowl for qualified personel.
    Would it be too hard to set up a clearinghouse site for information
    security resumes, www.computersecurityjobs.gov? Maybe create a
    provisional clearance that requires new hires to work two to three
    years before getting a clearance that would allow them to move to
    another agency or work for a contractor?
    I can only hope this stimulates someone to explore these ideas. - WK]
    By William New
    National Journal's Technology Daily
    June 10, 2004
    Bush administration officials and information technology industry 
    experts on Thursday identified areas of cybersecurity that need to be 
    addressed, including more research and development and the training of 
    the next generation of cyber experts in government. 
    "There is an incredibly shrinking pool of IT security professionals in 
    government," said Jack Johnson, chief security officer at the Homeland 
    Security Department. "The bench is not just thin; the bench is 
    non-existent," he added in a sports reference to backup players. "We 
    need to train the next generation" of IT professionals.
    Johnson said Homeland Security does not have the IT workforce to build 
    the systems it needs and is "absolutely dependent" on help from the 
    research and academic communities. The department contracts a lot of 
    work outside government, he said, but there are a limited number of 
    cleared contractors and high turnover of personnel. 
    Johnson said he and Homeland Security Chief Information Officer Steve 
    Cooper decided soon after the department's creation last year that 
    Johnson would handle the classified material and Cooper the 
    unclassified. Johnson is working on developing the Homeland Security 
    Information Network, which he said would be at Defense Department 
    "secret level" by year's end. He also said Homeland Security is 
    looking to redesign personnel security to prevent internal cyber 
    Thomas O'Keefe, deputy director of the Federal Aviation Administration 
    office of information systems security, said more research and 
    development, and more collaboration among researchers and industry, is 
    needed on cybersecurity. 
    "The sharing amongst bad guys is growing," he said at a 
    SecureE-Biz.net conference. "The sharing amongst the good guys on 
    procurement, technology and approach needs to grow at an equal or 
    greater rate. My observation is we're just not as good at it." 
    O'Keefe said firms are reluctant to mention their vulnerabilities 
    because it may "unnecessarily put concern in people's minds." His 
    office is working with the National Science Foundation to boost 
    cyber-security research, as it is "still very small," he said. He and 
    others on the panel predicted continually growing cyber attacks. 
    "You've got to expect cyber storms," he said.
    The president last year signed a law authorizing a significant 
    increase in cyber-security R&D funding, but it was not requested in 
    the fiscal 2005 White House budget proposal. 
    O'Keefe also said the nation's air-traffic control system does not 
    have viral outbreaks. The air-traffic network is completely separate 
    from the Internet, as well as other aspects of the FAA network, making 
    it impossible for viruses to spread from those sources, he said.
    The modernization of the air-traffic network will include putting it 
    on Internet protocol, though still not tying it to the Internet, and 
    the agency will subject it to intensive testing and structuring for 
    security, he said. That certification process can be applied to all 
    new technologies, he added. 
    Tom Kupiec of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency said 
    incentives are needed for telecommunications and electricity companies 
    to make network functions more redundant.
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