The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology released last week a draft plan of a cybersecurity awareness and education initiative that hopes to strengthen and promote a strong national cyber workforce.
“The cybersecurity vulnerabilities in our government and critical infrastructure are a risk to national security, public safety and economic prosperity,” the agency said in the draft. “Now is the time to begin a coordinated national initiative focused on cybersecurity awareness, education, training and professional development.”
“The United States must encourage cybersecurity competence across the nation and build an agile, highly skilled workforce capable of responding to a dynamic and rapidly developing array of threats,” it added.
The goal of NICE is to raise awareness among Americans about the risks of online activities, broaden the pool of skilled workers and develop a globally competitive cybersecurity workforce. It also stresses the importance of promoting education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.
The initial draft is the result of a collaboration among the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Personnel Management and the National Security Agency.
“This plan represents the coordinated thinking of the federal agencies that have leading roles in NICE,” said NIST’s Ernest McDuffie, who leads the NICE program. “We are soliciting feedback from the larger population to inform and improve the planning process for this comprehensive national initiative.”
The agency explained the draft is intended to be updated in subsequent years as the initiative moves forward.