The budget crunch, Obama administration officials contend, is already threatening the federal government’s ability to recruit the people it needs to respond to cyberattacks. But it might end up being even harder on the next generation of would-be cyber-warriors.
“If the government thinks it’s having trouble now recruiting skilled cybersecurity workers, wait until five to 10 years down the line when our current group of elementary school students are graduating from college and they don’t have the education to get them in the right careers,” said Evan Lesser, managing director of ClearanceJobs.com.
Of all the ideas for how Congress can beef up its cybersecurity workforce, Lesser said avoiding education cutbacks is most important.
President Barack Obama has called on Congress to commit new resources to create a master teacher corps that specializes in science, technology, engineering and math to produce 10,000 additional such teachers. So far, the initiative hasn’t caught on.
Lesser said it’s vital to start improving education in STEM classes at the elementary-school level now in order to give students the background they need to jump into cybersecurity later.
“We can’t compete on a global scale if we’re not churning out enough of those students,” he said. “This is a huge national security issue that will only get larger and more pronounced.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.