Cyber Security – Training, Education and Funding

Earlier this year the White House established the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC). The CTIIC will be a national intelligence center focused on “connecting the dots” regarding malicious foreign cyber threats to the nation and cyber incidents affecting U.S. national interests, and on providing all-source analysis of threats to U.S. policymakers. Cyber threats are among the gravest national security dangers to the United States.  Our citizens, our private sector, and our government are increasingly confronted by a range of actors attempting to do us harm through identity theft, cyber-enabled economic espionage, politically motivated cyber-attacks, and other malicious activity.Cyber Security Training, Funding The establishment of the CTIIC provided the formal framework that allows federal government agencies, education and state and local first responders to exchange and apply some of the hard-won lessons from our counterterrorism efforts to augment that “whole-of-government” approach by providing policymakers with a cross-agency view of foreign cyber threats, their severity, and potential attribution. The CTIIC mission is to coordinate, integrate, and share information related to domestic cyber threat investigations; and U.S. Cyber Command in its mission to defend the nation from significant attacks in cyberspace.  The CTIIC will provide these entities, as well as other departments and agencies, with intelligence needed to carry out their cybersecurity missions. An important factor emanating from the raised awareness of cybersecurity is the need to educate and train first responders. Taking the lead from the CTIIC and the White House, cybersecurity training is being funded through federal training grants for first responders and to higher education institutions, college and universities. Below is a list of grant and educational opportunities for the first responders.

Front Line Cyber Security For First Responders

National Training and Education DivisionNTED[i] provides tailored training to enhance the capacity of state and local jurisdictions. In addition to cyber-attack training, NTED also prepares first responders to prepare for, prevent, deter, respond to, and recover safely and effectively from potential manmade and natural catastrophic events. NTED training partners provide training at low or no cost to the individual or the individual’s agency. Under most circumstances, NPD grant funds may be used for overtime and backfill for those attending courses. A search of the NTED catalog (here) [ii]lists nearly thirty class in the area of cyber security. Classes range from Online/Distance Learning Classes to classes held regionally/locally or held at specific training locations such as Texas A&M (TEEX) or Louisiana State University (LSU). The Department of Energy committed $25 million in grants over the next five years to support cybersecurity education. The new grant will support the creation of a new cybersecurity consortium consisting of 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), two national labs, and a k-12 school district. See the list of schools here[iii]. The Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium core attributes are:

  • It is designed as a system. This allows students that enter through any of the partner schools to have all consortia options available to them, to create career paths and degree options through collaboration between all the partners (labs and schools), and to open the doors to DOE sites and facilities.
  • It has a range of participating higher education institutions. With Norfolk State University as a the lead, the consortium includes a K-12 school district, a two-year technical college, as well as four-year public and private universities that offer graduate degrees.
  • Built to change to evolving employer needs: To be successful in the long term, this program is designed to be sufficiently flexible in its organization to reflect the unique regional priorities that Universities have in faculty research and developing STEM disciplines and skills, and DOE site targets for research and critical skill development.
  • Diversifying the pipeline by working with leading minority-serving institutions: As the President stated in Executive Order 13532, “Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities” in February 2010, America’s HBCUs, for over 150 years, have produced many of the Nation’s leaders in science, business, government, academia, and the military, and have provided generations of American men and women with hope and educational opportunity.

Cyber Security in Higher Education

Analyst report that due to the rapid growth of cybercrime is creating a growing need for cybersecurity professionals across a range of industries, from financial services, health care, and retail to the US government itself. By some estimates, the demand for cybersecurity workers is growing 12 times faster than the U.S. job market, and is creating well-paying jobs. Following are several examples of how this educational need is being met. Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer[iv] Science and Information Systems was awarded a 2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help educate cybersecurity students. The grant will support 3 to 4 cybersecurity students annually, assist student research in cybersecurity, and direct several outreach programs such as the GenCyber cybersecurity program for high school teachers. The University of Southern Maine, Cyber Security Cluster[v] is fast becoming a force in the fight against malicious cyber activity. The program trains students in cybersecurity techniques, placing them in real-world applications in the public and private sectors and positioning them for employment in this fast-growing industry. The university has created a baccalaureate degree in cybersecurity. It is designed to prepare students for jobs in the cybersecurity field. The Maine Cyber Security Cluster operations are partly funded by the Maine Economic Improvement Fund and other grants. In June, the Maine Cyber Security Cluster received another round of funding from the Maine Technology Institute’s Cluster Initiative Program in the amount of $496,174, plus $2.1 million in matching funds for the purpose of pursuing partnerships with business, government and academic institutions. A review by Study. Com[vi] listed the following as their top schools for computer security

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cornell University
  • University of California-Los Angeles
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Maryland-College Park
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Texas at Austin

Grants and Jobs in Cybersecurity

The departments of Defense and Homeland Security has established a goal of building a cyber-workforce of approximately 6,200 — and officials say they are already about halfway there. DHS received authority from Congress late last year (2014) that allows DHS to pay cybersecurity experts more than was previously possible and retain them with bonuses. DHS is currently recruiting cybersecurity professionals with the following skill sets:

  • Cyber Incident Response
  • Cyber Risk and Strategic Analysis
  • Vulnerability Detection and Assessment
  • Intelligence and Investigation
  • Networks and Systems Engineering
  • Digital Forensics and Forensics Analysis
  • Software Assurance

Tampa Florida – To help meld the need to stem a growing problem with a potentially large workforce, the state Department of Economic Opportunity has awarded a $750,000 grant to the not-for-profit National Cyber Partnership for Cyber Foundations[vii], a pilot program to prepare Tampa-area veterans and others for high-skill, high-wage jobs in the cyber industry. University of North Carolina at Charlotte – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) on Monday announced a $759,727 cybersecurity Mobile Technology Security (MTS) [viii]research and development (R&D) award which will help secure mobile devices for the federal government. Illinois – Receives $1 Million Grant to Develop Cyber Security Training Program for First Responders A $1 million grant recently awarded to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency [ix](IEMA) will enable the state to develop a training program to help first responders, local governments and private sector partners throughout the U.S. better understand and deal with cyber incidents. Maryland – Hagerstown Community College [x]received notice that it has been awarded a $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to prepare students for careers in the growing field of cybersecurity. Texas – With breaches in data on the rise, cybersecurity is a growing concern. The University of Houston[xi] (UH) has been awarded a $1.5 million CyberCorps grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to train students in this increasingly important area of national security. FBI Cyber Shield Alliance [xii]– provides extensive resources for state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) law enforcement partners via the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal to access eGuardian as a way to report cyber incidents, to share intelligence, and to access federally sponsored training. National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) [xiii]serves as a national resource for cybersecurity awareness, education, training, and career opportunities. NICCS makes research and training information available through a robust, searchable catalog which allows users to find cyber training programs based on location, preferred delivery method, specialty area, or proficiency level. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) [xiv]is a nationally-coordinated effort comprising over 20 Federal departments and agencies, academia, and industry. The mission of this initiative is to enhance the overall cybersecurity posture of the United States by accelerating the availability of educational and training resources designed to improve the cyber behavior, skills, and knowledge of every segment of the population, enabling a safer cyberspace for all.

Summary – A Global Survey of Cyber Security

ISACA conducted the 2015[xv] Global Cybersecurity Status Report in January 2015 to obtain real-time insights on cybersecurity threats, skills gaps and plans outlined in US President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity address. The global survey of more than 3,400 ISACA members in 129 countries found that 86% of respondents see a global cybersecurity skills gap—and 92% of those planning to hire more cybersecurity professionals this year say they expect to have difficulty finding a skilled candidate. The survey also found that 83% of respondents say cyber attacks are among the top three threats facing organizations today, and only 38 percent say they are prepared to experience one. Cybersecurity is a global issue


Footnote Reference: [i] NTEDhttps://www.firstrespondertraining.gov/content.do [ii] NTED catalog herehttps://www.firstrespondertraining.gov/systemsSearch.do [iii] the list of schools herehttps://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/15/vice-president-biden-announces-25-million-funding-cybersecurity-educatio [iv] Seidenberg School of Computerhttp://www.pace.edu/news-release/pace-university-receives-25m-grant-national-science-foundation-to-train-next-generation [v] University of Southern Maine, Cyber Security Clusterhttp://bangordailynews.com/2015/08/31/business/universitys-cybersecurity-center-hopes-to-protect-maine-jobs/ [vi] Study. Comhttp://study.com/articles/Best_Computer_Security_Colleges_List_of_Top_Schools.html [vii] National Cyber Partnership for Cyber Foundations – http://www.tbo.com/list/military-news/state-grants-750000-for-cybersecurity-training-20141029/ [viii] Mobile Technology Security (MTS) – http://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/news/2015/08/06/dhs-st-awards-12m-rockville-company [ix] Illinois Emergency Management Agency – http://www.illinois.gov/ready/Press/Pages/121011.aspx [x] Hagerstown Community College – http://www.hagerstowncc.edu/news-events/hcc-receives-650000-grant-cybersecurity-training [xi] University Of Houston – http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2014/November/111014Cybersecurity.php [xii] FBI Cyber Shield Alliance http://www.iacpcybercenter.org/topics/training-2/free-training-for-law-enforcement/#sthash.QC6Gz8qs.dpuf [xiii] National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) – http://niccs.us-cert.gov/ [xiv] National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) http://csrc.nist.gov/nice/ [xv] ISACA conducted the 2015 – https://www.isaca.org/Pages/default.aspx


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Authority on Strategic Business Planning For Public Safety, Police and Fire Training Centers. President of the Interact Business Group www.interactbusinessgroup.com and Managing Editor at www.respondergateway.net
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