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Needed Cyber Skill Sets Grow in Number, Complexity

Effective cyber experts require an increasing skill set that is putting them out of reach of the government. As threats have become more diverse, so have the abilities needed to defend against them, and the government may need to turn to innovative methods of building its cyberforce.

Rear Adm. Edward Deets, USN (Ret.), director, software solutions division, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon, told the audience at the AFCEA Global Intelligence Forum in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that the nation has “a geopolitical knowledge gap—not just analysts, but also people doing things in the traditional tradecraft that we do today.” Foreign espionage is increasing as national relationships change and developing countries become players in the global marketplace.

Steven Chabinsky, chief risk officer and senior vice president for legal affairs at CrowdStrike, warned against expecting the incoming generation of professionals to be immediately adept at new technologies without the need for training. “Today’s generation is not that much more skilled than we are,” he stated. “They are familiar with using the technology, but don’t take false comfort in thinking that we won’t have to train them.”

Chabinsky also called for a new approach to training and education. “We have overemphasized college education to the point where people need their master’s degrees,” he charged. “Instead, we need more apprenticeships, and government can take the lead on this.”

Adm. Deets pointed out the need for government support for professional development. “[The Defense Department] must invest in intelligence training and education tracks for people to be integrated into the cyber domain. It’s incredibly expensive,” he said.