U.S. Looks to Boost Cyber Education

Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 04:08 PM gHale

The U.S. wants to boost the cyber security workforce and hike the pool of skilled workers under a new education plan.

The goal of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) plan, released by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is to improve U.S. cyber security by focusing on education, the agency said.

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“The cyber security vulnerabilities in our government and critical infrastructure are a risk to national security, public safety, and economic prosperity,” the agency said in the draft plan. “Now is the time to begin a coordinated national initiative focused on cyber security awareness, education, training, and professional development. The United States must encourage cyber security competence across the nation and build an agile, highly skilled workforce capable of responding to a dynamic and rapidly developing array of threats.”

Cyber security experts and tech vendors have long called for an increased government focus on cyber security education and training. NICE grew out of the U.S. White House’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, released in 2008.

The plan focuses on public awareness as well as school- and college-based education. One of the plan’s goals is to raise awareness of cyber risks among U.S. residents.

“The American public has grown increasingly dependent on online activities to manage all aspects of daily life and remains largely unaware of the risks threatening their privacy, safety, and financial security,” the plan said. “This initiative needs to make more people aware that malicious actors exist and are ready to take advantage of people’s willingness to accept information from or provide personal information over the Internet.”

NIST also called for elementary and high schools to improve math and science education and to increase the number and quality of computer science courses. There needs to be new incentives to support graduate-level cyber security research, the agency said.

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