“The key to address cyber security is our workforce – quality and quantity as force multipliers.”
-Rosemary Budd, President of the Fort Meade Alliance
The Fort Meade Alliance understands the importance of cyber security in the Fort Meade region, the gap in current workforce skills and certifications, and the significant lack of available qualified college students with the necessary skills and ability to obtain security clearances to fulfill the needs of the government and private industry. In recognizing the key role of technology in conducting government missions and private sector commerce, it is clear that traditional educational approaches of establishing curriculums that endure for a number of years, no longer works in addressing cybersecurity. New approaches are required that bring public and private sector leaders together in partnership with academia in crafting cyber educational frameworks that integrate technology, challenges, with skills development and certification attainment that adjust constantly with the technology rate of change.
In an effort to assist government agencies, private sector, our educational institutions and workforce development organizations in this massive undertaking to address these gaps, the Fort Meade Alliance hosted the 4th Education and Workforce Forum in February 2011 focused on workforce skills and needs which provided speaker, panel discussions from government and industry cyber experts, along with focus groups to share feedback and make recommendations for actions going forward.
More than 250 government and industry specialists, educators and workforce development representatives gathered at the Kossiakoff Conference and Education Center at the Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory for Cyber Security: Key to the Future.
The forum provided government and industry insight from the front lines of cyber security and identified what needs to be done by educational institutions, workforce development organizations and private industry to win the nation's cyber security fight.
This unprecedented event brought together the region’s most influential leaders in cyber security including Deborah Bonanni, Chief of Staff for the National Security Agency and Jenny Menna, Director for Critical Infrastructure, Cyber Protection & Awareness, Department of Homeland Security, as well as government officials who understand the importance of our nation’s cyber security—Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger and Congressman John Sarbanes.
The morning program was comprised of three panels of representatives from U.S. Cyber Command, NSA and DISA, as well as industry leaders from Constellation Energy, HP, Lockheed Martin, ManTech, SAIC, TASC, TeleCommunication Systems and the Federal Reserve.
The afternoon included small breakout sessions with the panelists and educators to discuss what K-12, colleges and universities and workforce development organizations can do now and in the near future to meet the cyber security workforce challenges.
It was apparent from the day’s discussion that a multi-pronged strategy involving government, the private sector and academia is needed to address and deal with the lack of skilled workforce eligible for U.S. security clearances. The Fort Meade region — at the epicenter of cyber — must lead the way in implementing that strategy.
In Fall 2011, the Fort Meade Alliance will issue a white paper detailing the findings and recommendations from the event.