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How Should the U.S. Build a Cyber Workforce of the Future?

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The education division of the government’s cybersecurity standards agency is days away from releasing a request for public input about how best to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, an official said Monday.

The information request follows an executive order President Donald Trump released in May that required a report within four months with recommendations for how to grow and sustain the nation’s cybersecurity workforce in the public and private sectors.

The report is one of more than a dozen required by the executive order, which also directs federal agencies to adopt cybersecurity best practices outlined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and pledges to hold top officials accountable for information security weaknesses at their agencies.

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The information request from NIST’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education will include a broad set of questions aimed at establishing the proper scope of recommendations, NICE Director Rodney Petersen said during a webinar.

NICE will be accepting responses to the information request for 30 days, he said. The organization will also hold two public workshops to gather additional feedback, he said, one hosted by the private sector and another by academia.

NICE hopes to conclude its work in mid-August leaving enough time to submit recommendations to the White House by Sept. 8, Petersen said.

The executive order also mandates an intelligence community report about cybersecurity education and training by other nations with highly skilled cybersecurity workforces, such as Russia, China and Israel.

Recommendations from the workforce and education reports could result in additional executive orders redefining cyber priorities or in a White House push for new cyber legislation, said Tyson Meadors, the National Security Council’s director for cybersecurity policy.

Meadors described the education and workforce studies as the long-term components of an executive order that otherwise focuses primarily on short-term changes that will have an effect within several months to several years.

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