Friendly hackers and other computer whizzes who could help bolster government’s cyber defenses often are unable to collaborate with the Homeland Security Department because of outdated policies that Congress and the White House must reform, former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge said on Tuesday.
Ridge, his successor Michael Chertoff and current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano discussed the evolution of threats to the United States, including those to network security, at a Georgetown University event, hosted by the Aspen Institute, to mark the department’s 8th anniversary.
The federal government is short tens of thousands of cyber experts, by some estimates, and is aggressively trying to attract new talent through scholarships and other youth competitions. For example, a program that the National Science Foundation runs covers the cost of books, tuition, and room and board for students willing to concentrate in information security and then work for the government.
Napolitano said the Office of Personnel Management has granted DHS direct authority to hire 1,000 cybersecurity specialists.