SMU’s Frederick R. Chang, executive director of the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, recently urged a congressional subcommittee to remember the success of Cold War-era legislation that dedicated more than $1 billion to growing the “space race” workforce as a model for closing the 21st century cyber security skills gap.
Chang testified recently before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee on “Challenges of recruiting and retaining a Cybersecurity Workforce.”
The hearing fell the same day that that it was revealed that a data breach at Equifax Inc. had potentially exposed vital information on about 143 million Americans. “Cyber attacks are growing in frequency and they are growing in sophistication – but the availability of cyber security professionals to deal with these challenges is unfortunately not keeping pace,” said subcommittee chair John Ratcliffe, R-Tx.
One estimate, Ratcliffe said, forecasts a worldwide shortage of 1.8 million cyber security workers five years from now.
“In general, the actions that are being taken now are important, valuable and are making a difference,” Chang testified. “But given that these actions are being taken, and that the cyber skills gap continues to grow, tells me that we must do more. In 1958 science education in America got a shot in the arm when the National Defense Education Act was passed the year after the Soviet satellite “Sputnik” was launched into outer space. This act helped launch a generation of students who would study math and science.