National Academy of Public Administration - Increasing the Effectiveness of the Federal Role in Cybersecurity Education
The Internet’s vulnerabilities were first exposed nearly three decades ago, in 1988, when a Cornell University graduate student distributed one of the first computer worms. The Morris Worm, named for its creator Robert Morris, rendered 6,000 computers unusable and generated up to $1 million in damages. While Morris was eventually tried and convicted of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, his actions brought to light a new type of vulnerability from which federal agencies are now expected to protect themselves and the nation.
In 2015, our critical infrastructure and day-to-day operations are more than ever tied to the Internet. And with connectivity come increasing threats from malicious hackers and criminals who attack banks, power grids, schools, health records, credit cards, and defense capabilities. In 2013, hackers successfully stole 40 million credit card records from Target shoppers, and as recently as June, it was revealed that the files of millions of federal employees stored at OPM had been breached. Each year, the federal government spends billions of dollars to combat the evergrowing threat, but, as evidenced by the recent cyberattacks reportedly linked to nation states, each year the threat becomes more serious.
Such events have brought cybersecurity to the forefront of the government agenda. Implementing plans to strengthen our law enforcement, intelligence, and defense capabilities as they relate to cybersecurity will require that the nation remedy its current shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals in both the government and private sector workforce. To address this issue, the Academy conducted an assessment of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense (CAE) and the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program to recommend ways to enhance the federal role in cybersecurity education, as well as strengthen the ability of students and employers, both public and private, to make informed decisions about cybersecurity education and professional development. The Academy Panel made recommendations to support the federal government in furthering its development of a cadre of competent cybersecurity professionals.