Help Wanted: Homeland Security Seeks Cybersecurity Pros

Hiring has become a top priority for the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity arm, a key player in the U.S. government's push to bolster online defenses.
The Obama administration has given Department of Homeland Security the go-ahead to hire up to 1,000 new cybersecurity pros over the next three years, secretary Janet Napolitano said today.

The new hiring authority will let DHS, a key agency in the nation's cybersecurity strategy, fill positions in risk and strategic analysis, incident response, vulnerability detection, intelligence, investigation, and network and systems engineering.

The agency says it doesn't currently foresee having to fill all 1,000 positions, but Homeland Security for the National Protection and Programs Directorate and director of the National Cyber Security Center Phil Reitinger told InformationWeek last month that hiring qualified cybersecurity pros was his top priority.

"I have some awesome people here at DHS, we have a great team, but we just don't have enough of them yet, and we're in strict competition with the private sector to get the best and brightest to work on these issues," Reitinger said. "I'm a firm believer that organizations succeed or fail based on the people you have."

Napolitano's announcement, made at a press conference with deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III and White House National Security Staff acting senior director for cybersecurity Chris Painter, came during a kick-off to National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

“Effective cybersecurity requires all partners -- individuals, communities, government entities and the private sector -- to work together to protect our networks and strengthen our cyber resiliency,” Napolitano said. “This new hiring authority will enable DHS to recruit the best cyber analysts, developers and engineers in the world to serve their country by leading the nation’s defenses against cyber threats.”

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