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October 16, 2014

NSA Looking to Groom Cyber-Security Professionals for the Future

Agency Says U.S. Needs Hundreds of Thousands of People in Such Roles

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) /

The National Security Agency (NSA) wants to better prepare the United States for the new norm: cyber-attacks.

And that means providing knowledgeable online security professionals to the hard hit retail and financial sectors as well as to government agencies.

National_Security_Agency.svg“The agency is trying to increase the future pipeline of cyber professionals of the nation — not just for NSA, but for academia, industry and the rest of government,” NSA College of Cyber dean Steven LaFountain told Firewall in a televised interview. “We’re doing that by trying to influence the security curriculum that’s being taught at the university level and we’re even starting to try to influence high school students … to get them interested in careers in cyber.”

As part of that effort, the NSA debuted its National Centers for Academic Excellence, Cyber Operations Program in 2012. That program now includes 13 undergraduate and graduate programs in the U.S. Soon being added to the list are the U.S. Military Academy, New York University, the University of New Orleans, Towson University, and the University of Cincinnati.

But with new breaches popping up almost weekly in the retail, financial and even technology and government sectors, there simply are not enough students enrolling to become cyber-security experts.

“There’s a lack of talent out there. There have been numerous studies done that say the nation is tens if not hundreds of thousands of people below the need for cyber-security professionals,” LaFountain said.

“Everybody needs cyber-security professionals to help protect them personally or their company’s secrets, and it’s just a growing problem – and it’s going to continue to grow because we’ve become more and more reliant on computers in all aspects of our lives.”


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.