You Call This an Army? The Terrifying Shortage of U.S. Cyberwarriors.
February 25, 2013
When the Soviet Union launched the first satellite in 1957, it set off an intellectual arms race that led to more than $1 billion of federal investment in science education. Within a decade, Americans were sending their own expeditions to outer space. Presidents and other public figures since then have made a tradition of referring to Sputnik to push their political agendas. But just because it's a convenient rhetorical lever doesn't invalidate the analogy. And when it comes to cybersecurity, it hits pretty close to the truth.
The United States doesn't have nearly enough people who can defend the country from digital intrusions. We know this, because cybersecurity professionals are part of a larger class of workers in science, technology, engineering, and math--and we don't have nearly enough of them, either. We're just two years into President Obama's decade-long plan to develop an army of STEM teachers. We're little more than one year from his request to Congress for money to retrain 2 million Americans for high-tech work (a request Republicans blocked). And it has been less than a month since the Pentagon said it needed to increase the U.S. Cyber Command's workforce by 300 percent--a tall order by any measure, but one that's grown even more urgent since the public learned of massive and sustained Chinese attempts at cyberespionage last month.