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Defense Department Looks for Youth Movement in Cyber

The chief information officer wants a younger work force for information technology.

The acting chief information officer (CIO) for the U.S. Defense Department is promoting a diversity movement for information technology. He wants to see a younger work force that includes people who have come of age in the digital era.

Terry Halvorsen, acting department CIO, told the Wednesday luncheon audience at the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium, being held June 24-25 in Baltimore, that the department is striving to recruit the right skill sets it needs for information technology. But, having skill sets alone is not enough.

“We need to attract a younger work force,” he said. “We’re filling jobs, but we’re not getting the right mix. Diversity is needed.”

Halvorsen also called for easing regulations to allow a greater two-way flow of expertise between the Defense Department and industry. “We have to be able to move people back and forth between industry and government,” he stated. “We don’t get successful unless that happens.”

He touched on the work the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) will be doing on behalf of cybersecurity. The department will be standing up DISA’s joint task force with the same number of people in the department today—no additions will be possible because of budget constraints. So, the department will be sending some of its own people back to DISA specifically designated for this joint task force.