Federal government grapples with cybersecurity staff shortage

The Department of Homeland Security is so desperate that it is hiring cybersecurity staff away from other agencies, Philip Reitinger, deputy undersecretary of DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, told journalists at an Oct. 21 National Press Club event in Washington, DC, hosted by Deloitte.

“We just don’t have enough people yet….This is going to be a continuing challenge for us” Reitinger was quoted by Defense Systems as saying. He admitted that this was a “zero sum game” for the federal government.

James Lewis, director of the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the “current federal process is a disincentive to come in…It’s a larger workforce problem.”

The Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command is looking to hire more than 2500 uniformed and civilian cyber workers, according to Kevin Cooley, a command information officer. He said the cyber command is taking a new approach to recruiting.

“If we are going to reach out and touch these people, they will not look at USAjobs or go to a recruiting office and look at a recruiting poster. That's not their world. We spend a good amount of time and energy reaching out into the places that are in their world. Those places are in the social network. We spend a lot of time in places like Facebook, and looking at the digital presence the Navy has and how easy is it for someone to go into that environment” and find out what the Navy has to offer, Cooley was quoted by Federal News Radio as saying.

Deloitte estimates that the government and contractors need today between 10 000 and 30 000 cyber professionals in the Washington metro area alone.

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